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Cosco Pacific August overall volumes fall 1.3%

Cosco Pacific August overall volumes fall 1.3%
The continuing pattern of declining volumes at China ports continued in August but the segment declines changed slightly, with Cosco Pacific seeing its northern ports in the Bohai Rim slide to just 0.8% growth, handling handling 2.12m teu compared to 2.10m teu in the previous corresponding period.

Throughput had grown a relatively strong 5.6% in July and the region had been the group's best performing segment. As a result overall throughput growth of the whole group turned negative in August, falling 1.3% to 5.88m teu from 5.96m teu previously. This is the first month this year volume growth has turned negative for the China-based container terminal operating group.

Meanwhile the slide steepened in the key Yangtze River Delta region. Volumes were 7.1% lower, falling to 790,700 teu in August from 850,800 teu in the same month a year before. Throughput growth had already turned negative in July, sliding 2.0% to 832,400 teu compared to the year before.

The previously struggling but still just afloat Pearl River Delta region also turned to negative growth once again, falling 1.3% to 1.83m teu from 1.85m teu previously. This segment has seen year-on-year declines earlier this year in March and April, at the height of the low season when volumes dropped 3.4% and 2.1% respectively compared to the previous corresponding periods. However, that volumes are falling in this key export region for both the Transpacific and Asia-Europe lanes, at this time on the cusp of the high season, with some of the highest absolute throughput numbers in the Cosco Pacific group is somewhat worrying and should bode ill for the container industry in China.

Cosco Pacific's overseas ports also saw a cumulative fall of 6.5% to 778,000 teu from 832,200 teu previously. Surprisngly in Piraeus volumes actually rose 2.9% bug a big drop from 307,300 teu previously to 246,200 teu in the current period at Suez impacted adversely on the overall figure.

The one bright spot was the Southeast Coast terminals where volumes turned around from a 8% fall in July to see 13% growth in August. Although still from a relatively low base with the lowest absolute figures in the whole group, throughput rose to 366,700 teu from 324,600 teu previously. Declines in the preceding month at terminals at Quanzhou and Xiamen were turned around while the operation in Kao Ming saw growth accelerate to 26.1% from 5.6% in the month before. The only weak spot in the segment remains the Jinjiang terminal, which has seen negative growth figures from the beginning of the year and saw a decline of 29.8% in August.