Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Container volumes heading for new heights

Container volumes will continue to surge during the peak season, following this year’s record volumes for the month of May.

Researcher Macquarie’s Global Container Index, which is based on the aggregation of volumes from almost 200 container ports in 58 countries, showed box volumes reached a record high in May, up 1% on the previous peak recorded in May 2008, and up 18% year-on-year.

If the trend continues through June, Macquarie’s estimated global throughput growth of 17% year-on-year for the second quarter of 2010, would be a record high for an individual quarter.

And it predicts volumes will continue to surge during the third quarter, growing 14-15% year-on-year.

It said: “Based on typical seasonal trends, in which third-quarter volumes typically exceed those seen in the previous quarter by around 4%, it is likely that Q3 2010 will prove a record by some distance.”

“Two key reasons suggest to us that volumes will remain strong during this period: our analysis of inventories in Europe and the US suggests the main benefit from re-stocking may be still to come; and in importing regions, such as the US, the ratio of containerised imports to end demand remains low for both consumer and industrial goods.”

Macquarie said it had argued against the popular perception held about the reasons behind volume booms reported earlier this year. These suggested that container volumes during the first quarter included significant one-off benefits from the re-stocking of empty shelves.

It said that, following the consistently strong volumes reported during April and May, its stance on the issue has become more widely accepted, and added that research suggested that major inventory re-stocking had yet to take place, and would boost volumes further.

“The observation that the main benefit from re-stocking for global freight volumes may have yet to come is an important one,” Macquarie said

“While our view that re-stocking has not driven volumes to unsustainable levels may have become accepted, we do not believe that the consensus view is considering the prospect of an increase in re-stocking benefits.

“If this view does prove correct, the potential for volumes to strengthen in the near-term should not be ruled out, particularly on the [westbound] Asia-Europe and [eastbound] transpacific routes, where volumes are driven, respectively, by European and North American imports.”


No comments: