Import volumes at six major North European ports are expected to have increased by 16 percent in January of this year from a year earlier, according to the latest forecast by Global Port Tracker: North European Trade Outlook.
January import volumes should total almost 2 million 20-foot equivalent units, which would also be a 6.7 percent gain over December 2010. The new import forecast, released this week by Hackett Associates and the Bremen Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics, is stronger than the forecast released last month.
The latest forecast showed less buoyant export volumes with a total of 1.24 million TEUs exported in January, a 7.4 percent decrease from December but an 11.5 percent gain over January 2010.
Total imports to Europe in the first quarter of 2011 are still on track to post a healthy 7.3 percent increase over the preceding quarter, which would equate to a 14.1 percent gain over the same quarter the previous year, according to the forecast.
Exports are anticipated to post single-digit, year-on-year increases in each of the coming six months, although month-on-month declines are projected in two. Growth over the previous year is expected in each of the upcoming four quarters for both imports and exports.
Global Port Tracker forecasts volumes at six North European ports, including Antwerp, Bremen/Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Le Havre, Rotterdam and Zeebrugge.
Total inbound volumes at these ports over the next six months are forecast to post single-digit percentage gains over prior-year volumes, although only half the months are anticipated to post increases over the previous month.
Looking at the entire year, the forecast for the first quarter is for a slight increase of 0.7 per cent, with each quarter forecast to post a gain over the previous quarter and year-on-year gains expected in each (reaching double-digit levels by the final quarter of the year).
The short-term forecast for outgoing volumes across the six ports is for a mix of growth and decreased volumes, although year-on-year growth is forecast each month. At the quarterly level, each of the upcoming four quarters is expected to post a year-on-year gain despite a projected half-percent decrease in the first quarter. Once again, a double-digit year-on-year gain is forecast for the last quarter.