Trans-Atlantic Trade

Trans-Atlantic Trade

Once the United States' dominant international corridor, the centuries-old trade between Europe and North America has stagnated in recent years as recessions struck both continents and as Asia increased its manufacturing prowess. But while analysts would classify the trade as "mature," with little upside or downside, it's also stable, meaning carriers and shippers can plan their strategies without fear of the severe volatility seen in other east-west trades such as the trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe. For many in the trade, anticipation in recent years has centered around preparations for the onslaught of large mega-ships that will begin to pour through the Panama Canal when its decade-long expansion project is complete in 2015. Suddenly, those big ships are arriving early — but from an entirely different direction: through the Suez Canal from Asia. Driving the trend is the introduction of new 10,000-plus-TEU vessels on the Asia-Europe trade, cascading the 8,000-TEU ships that previously plied that trade to the trans-Pacific and, now, through the Suez Canal as carriers seek the economies of scale that they can’t find on the 5,000-TEU ships that are the largest that can transit the Panama Canal. The shift is providing a boost to trans-Atlantic carriers, East Coast ports such as Savannah, Charleston, Virginia and New York-New Jersey in a market that, while steady, has shown little upside for growth in recent years. European ports, meanwhile, are struggling under the weight of a recession that has hurt imports and exports. Indications, however, point to improvement in the economy, especially in the fourth quarter of this year and into 2014, which would be a welcome relief to the trans-Atlantic market.

 

 

 

 

 

Special Coverage

The centuries-old trade between North Europe and the U.S. is all but stagnant, especially on the eastbound leg of the trade. U.S. imports from Europe are recovering, while exports must await economic revival of Europe, which seems trapped in its own dedication to austerity. All eyes are on 2014, when signs of improvement in recession-bound southern Europe may augur for an economic turnaround, albeit a weak one.

News & Analysis

09 Jul 2014
Trade between northern Europe and North America fell in May, but carriers are making moves to keep their utilization rates over 90 percent on both eastbound and westbound routes, Drewry says.
Wine imports constitute the largest U.S. import commodity by volume from the Mediterranean and southern Europe.
21 Apr 2014
Container ships are running full on the westbound trans-Atlantic as shippers scramble to complete their annual contract negotiations with carriers at a time when the new P3 Network and other expanding alliances have not yet finalized their new service schedules.
The Fortunagracht, which is being employed on the Cleveland-Europe Express.
17 Apr 2014
Interest in a container and breakbulk service between Cleveland and North Europe launching this month has been fueled by erratic service at U.S. East Coast ports and unreliable service via surface transportation, according to users of the service.
DHL Boeing 757
14 Mar 2014
The world’s largest transportation and logistics company is getting larger as demand for e-commerce, time definite international express delivery and supply chain services drives up revenue and profit at Deutsche Post DHL.
From left: Walter Kemmsies, Moffatt & Nichol; Mario Moreno, JOC Group Inc.; Neil Dekker, Drewry.
04 Mar 2014
Container lines will continue to face challenging times in 2014 and 2015, but if they do not order a slew of new container ships over the next two years, the supply-demand economics in the major trade lanes will be brighter by 2016, according to an industry analyst.
03 Mar 2014
Kuehne+Nagel’s operating earnings soared 20 percent in 2013 driven by market-beating growth in air freight volumes, almost doubled contract logistics profit and increased market share on the transpacific and transatlantic container trades.

Commentary

As cargo delays at the Port of New York and New Jersey enter their third month, customers are wondering: When will this end? Terminal operators say they expect things to settle down soon after Labor Day. That’s small comfort to port users dreading another month of expensive delays.