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Box industry will lag behind world economic growth: APL

Shenzhen: 'The recovery in the world economy will not quickly filter to the container shipping industry,' warned Eng Aik Meng, president of southeast Asia's largest boxline, APL, speaking at the 3rd annual TPM Asia Conference in Shenzhen today. He stressed that 'rates were unsustainable'. Latest figures show that there is still 45% of the extant fleet on order which will inevitably lead to the sector lagging the world economy. 'At the rate we are going by 2014 the structure of the industry will change,' Meng said. Casting his crystal ball, he suggested there could be trade growth as early as next year, but cautioned 'the outlook is still uncertain'. APL has experienced a recovery in volumes in the past three months. 'Asia will arguably lead the way out of recession,' Meng said. But this will be in a changed environment for those in the logistics industry. 'It will not just be about export orientated logistics, there'll be more focus on inland, domestic logistics,' he said, pointing especially to the rise of the Chinese middle class, a demographic that could help replace the increasingly thrifty West as consumers.  [21/10/09]

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