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

Containerized U.S. imports rose 6.9 percent year-over-year in June.
28 Jul 2014
U.S. containerized imports in June showed substantial year-over-year growth, as labor negotiations on the West Coast seem to have induced an early ocean container shipping peak season.
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.
20 Oct 2013
Mediterranean Shipping Co. released details of the massive vessel-sharing alliance that also will include Maersk Line and CMA CGM and will launch next spring if it wins regulatory approval.
20 Sep 2013
The number of foreign trade containers handled by the Port of Nagoya in central Japan edged up 0.8 percent in the first half of this year from a year earlier to 1.226 million 20-foot equivalent units, according to preliminary figures released by the Nagoya municipal government.
13 Sep 2013
Major container lines have announced planned rate increases for a variety of trades, as detailed below, slated to take ef
container ship at Port of Hamburg
03 Sep 2013
After a strong start in the first quarter, container volumes in the trans-Atlantic trade have declined, and average vessel utilization has dropped sharply, eroding freight rates.

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.