Europe’s recession will slow growth in containerized imports and exports through the continent’s northern ports to about one-third the rate of last year, according to the latest Global Port Tracker trade outlook.
The report, produced by Hackett Associates and the Bremen-based Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics, forecast that total European imports this year would rise about 1.5 percent while exports would increase 3 percent. Both growth rates are about one-third of the increases in 2011.
“Trade volumes remain on the decline. North European import growth rates are sliding toward flat to negative territory and exports have been flat for some months. The latest news from the industrial heartland of Germany suggests that we shall see exports declining in the coming six months,” said Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates.
Volumes at the six largest North Europe ports, including intra-European trade volumes, are expected to show year-over-year increases of 2.4 percent for inbound shipments and 5.2 percent for outbound shipments. Both figures would be down sharply from 2011 growth rates.
For the ports of Le Havre, Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Bremen/Bremerhaven and Rotterdam, year-over-year gains are forecast in only three of the next six months and three of the next four quarters.
Worst hit will be Rotterdam, with its heavy dependence on Asian trade, the report said. Antwerp’s volume is expected to remain relatively stable, with modest growth.
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