Global freight volumes declined during the first half of the year, indicating a slowing economy, according to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“The overall picture for global freight is one of growth slowing down,” said the report from the OECD’s International Transport Forum.
U.S. international seaborne trade measured in metric tons slowed in the second quarter and finished the first half of the year down 4 percent from pre-recession levels. In the European Union, international seaborne trade was down 3 percent from pre-recession levels.
Air cargo volume, which had been 15 percent above pre-recession levels in the EU in February, is now up only 9 percent. U.S. international air freight tonnage has shown little growth this year and was up 2 percent from its pre-recession peak. The report said weakening air freight trade with China may indicate “a slowdown in demand from the world’s engine of recovery.”
The report said recovery in U.S. and EU volume has been led by exports to Asia but that trade with China and Southeast Asian countries “shows evidence of an economic slowdown. Both sea and air exports from the U.S. to China declined between February 2011 and June 2011.”