The Global Port Tracker report forecast continued sluggishness in North Europe container imports, and forecast that international imports to the region’s ports will decline 2.1 percent this year.
Including intra-Europe trades, North Europe import volume is expected to decline 1.2 percent this year. Exports from North Europe ports are forecast to rise 4.7 percent.
“Trade is weakening in the continuing slide into zero growth (at best) and negative growth. The consumer confidence index as measured by the EU Commission continues to decline,” Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, wrote in a commentary.
Hackett produces Port Tracker’s North Europe Trade Outlook with the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics in Bremen.
The report said import volume is expected to decline in the first quarter of 2013 before rising in the second quarter, and rise 0.6 percent over the next six months.
Exports are forecast to rise in four of the next six months, but overall volumes are expected to be virtually flat.