Europe’s ports will finish this year with a 13.8 percent increase in containerized import volumes that will approach 2008 levels, with additional increases expected in 2011, a new forecast says.
Imports are forecast to rise 8 to 9 percent in 2011, with exports expanding more than 5 percent, according to the Global Port Tracker North Europe trade Outlook by Hackett Associates and the Bremen Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics.
“Most of the growth will come in the second half of the year,” said Ben Hackett, head of Hackett Associates, which also produces the U.S. Global Port Tracker for the National Retail Federation.
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He said imports in next year’s third quarter could hit a record 5.847 million 20-foot-equivalent units, 1.4 percent above the previous high in the second quarter of 2008.
Hackett said little month-to-month increase in volume is expected until the slack winter season ends in late March although Germany “may well be the exception to restrained growth, with unemployment falling and exports rising.”
For 2010, import volume is expected to total 21.1 million TEUs. That would be close to the 21.6 million TEUs in 2008 and 13.8 percent above last year’s 18.6 million TEUs. Growth of 17.4 percent is forecast for Mediterranean and Black Sea ports, compared with 12.1 percent for North European ports, which handle two-thirds of the continent’s imports.
Hackett and Michael Tasto of the Bremen institute said import growth this year was aided by government stimulus packages and inventory rebuilding by retailers.
This year’s containerized exports are expected to rise 11.3 percent to 15.8 million TEUs, well below the 18.2 million of 2008. Exports from North European ports are expected to be down 0.7 percent to 10.1 million, while this year’s exports from Mediterranean and Black Sea ports are forecast to jump 42.5 percent to 5.6 million TEUs.
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