Total container volumes handled by the six major ports in Northern Europe continue to decline from their March high, largely because of fears of default by several European Union member countries, according to the latest forecast by Global Port Tracker: North Europe Trade Outlook.
The forecast, released Thursday by Hackett Associates and the Bremen Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics, said total volumes at the six ports in May increased by 5.6 percent from April to 3.48 million 20-foot equivalent units, according to estimates by the latest Global Port Tracker: North Europe Trade Outlook.
But the rate of growth is slowing, said Ben Hackett, principal of Hackett Associates.
“We are now faced with the specter of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland all having to adjust their fiscal policies and wondering whether the northern EU can afford to come to the rescue,” said Ben Hackett, principal of Hackett Associates. “This will only get worse. We are seeing a slowdown in Asian exports with growth rates of 5 to 6 per cent or less being projected, “Hackett said.
All six ports in northern Europe posted single-digit percentage increases in May import volumes from April. Compared to the same month of 2010, only Le Havre and Zeebrugge experienced declines.
The six northern ports posted a 6.9 percent increase in imports from April and a 9.3 per cent year-over-year increase. Port Tracker forecast a 9.9 percent gain in imports at these ports year-over-year for all of 2011.
Port Tracker is forecasting import volumes at the six ports will increase by 2.4 percent and 0.2 percent in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, while it forecasts export volumes will increase by 1.6 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.
It expects both import and export volumes will post year-over-year gains in all four upcoming quarters.