Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

GCC, Iran growing trades on Asia-Europe corridor

GCC, Iran growing trades on Asia-Europe corridor
An analysis of the sub-trades on the westbound Asia-Europe corridor shows that trade from Asia to the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent (ME&ISC) is growing rapidly, and could even overtake the size of Asia-Europe direct volumes within a decade if current growth rates persist.

Asia-ME&ISC had a share of only 26% on the corridor in 2002, but this grew to 36% in 2010, and is expected to hit 42% by 2018, data provided by Seabury Group of the Netherlands shows.

In 2014, Asia-Europe volumes stood at around 20m teu, with Asia-Europe’s share at 51%, Asia-ME&ISC at 39% and ME&ISC at 10%, said Michel Looten, director, maritime, at Seabury Group.

“The share of Asia to Middle East and Indian Subcontinent has increased sharply at the expense of Asia-Europe, and this will only increase in the coming years,” he said.

However, the GCC’s low population density compared to the Indian subcontinent means that it does not enjoy the lion’s share of the business.

In 2013, the GCC took 44% of the 7.7m teu on the Asia-ME&ISC trade, with the UAE accounting for 16%, Saudi Arabia 13% and the rest of the GCC 15%, while India (17%), the rest of ISC (18%) and the Levant (22%) took a total of 56%.

Commenting on the evolution of the trade in the past decade and a half, Looten said the destination split had been fairly constant, although the relative importance of UAE had decreased, while India’s share had gone up slightly.

Import of household goods increased sharply in the period 2012-14, mainly into Iran and UAE, whereas export growth mainly came from the ISC.

Imports of household goods to the Gulf from Asia shot up 134% in the two-year period, or by 89,000 teu per year, while primary plastics and forestry products both saw double-digit growth.

Looten expects that imports lost by Iran since 2012 due to economic sanctions will be more than redressed, particularly in consumer goods and automotive, if the measures are lifted in the near future.

“China will be the big winner if sanctions to Iran are eased or lifted, further supporting the trend of ME&ISC pivoting towards Asia-Pacific,” he said.

“Jebel Ali is going to be the hub in this region. Sohar might save one or two days sailing time. In coming years Iran will definitely be a market that will continue to grow.”