Alphaliner ups 2017 container volume growth forecast to 6.4%

Global container port volumes grew at 7.7% in the third quarter, higher than expected, according to a survey by analyst Alphaliner.

Alphaliner surveyed 75% of the world’s top 200 container ports with the third quarter volume growth of 7.7% above that of 5.8% and 7.4% growth in the first and second quarters of the year. As a result the analyst has increased its forecast for full year container volume growth to 6.4% from 6% previously.

The highest growth was seen in the Latin American region with volumes up 10% as a whole.

Typically strong volume is expected to result in more or upgraded services in the Latin American trades.

“The strong volume recovery in Latin America could lead to a major revamp of Asia- South America services in the coming months. New tonnage is expected to be introduced as carriers vie for market share following Maersk’s acquisition of Hamburg Süd,” Alphaliner’s weekly report said.

Chinese ports, including Hong Kong, also saw good volume growth of 9.3% in the third quarter. Leading the way Ningbo with 13.3% increase 6.38m teu and Guangzhou at 11.9% to 5.2m teu in Q3 2017.

Faring rather less well in Southeast Asia was Port Klang with a 15.1% drop in volumes to an estimated 2.81m teu in the third quarter. The Malaysian port, ranked 12th largest in the world, has been hit by the restructuring of alliances.

However, while global container volumes showed good growth lines continue to face issues with overcapacity.

“Despite the high volume growth rate recorded in the third quarter, carriers have largely failed to capitalise on the improved demand conditions,” Alphaliner commented.

“Total effective capacity growth has outpaced the growth in demand, reaching 8.1% at the end of September this year, due to the combined effects of new ship deliveries and a reduction in the idle fleet.”

The growth in capacity has put pressure on container freight rates which fell 4% last week alone.

Posted 16 November 2017

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Marcus Hand

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Editor, Seatrade Maritime News Marcus Hand is the editor of Seatrade Maritime News and a dedicated maritime journalist with nearly two decades of experience covering the shipping industry in Asia. In addition to running Seatrade's maritime and offshore news website based from Singapore he is the Asia Editor of Seatrade Maritime Review. Marcus is also an experienced industry commentator and has chaired many conferences and round tables. Prior to joining Seatrade at the beginning of 2010 Marcus worked for shipping industry journal Lloyd's List for a decade and previous to that the Singapore Business Times covering shipping and aviation.

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