Container traffic through Chinese ports hit an all-time monthly high of 12.44 million 20-foot equivalent units in May as the nation's foreign trade surged by nearly 50 percent from a year ago.
The record volume was up 21.9 percent from May 2009 and 16.6 percent higher than the same month in 2008, according to Alphaliner, the Paris-based container shipping consultancy.
Six of the top 10 ports booked record volumes, led by Ningbo which reported a 52 percent increase to 1.23 million TEUs. Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Xiamen and Dalian also recorded all time high monthly traffic.
China's exports rose 48.5 percent in May from a year ago and imports were up 48.3 percent, according to Chinese customs.
The slide in the value of the euro and Europe's debt crisis did not impact Chinese exports to the 27-nation European Union, which soared 49.7 percent from May 2009.
But the Chinese Ministry of Commerce cautioned that the eurozone crisis likely will impact future exports to Europe as it typically takes Chinese firms around two months to fulfill orders.
May's shipments reflected orders booked before Europe's debt crisis deepened, Alphaliner said. While June figures likely will remain robust, export growth is set to slow from July onward.
Given these uncertainties, Alphaliner said it estimates global container demand growth for 2010 at 11.5 percent, with slower second half growth offsetting the strong performance in the first six months of the year.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.