Home » Ports/Terminals » Slowdown predicted for northern Europe’s port container volume

The six major ports in northern Europe will see a continued decline in overall import and export container growth from March, the year’s high, and it will only get worse, predicts the latest Global Port Tracker: North Europe Trade Outlook.

The latest downward outlook by Hackett Associates and the Bremen Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics was due to concerns that many European Union member-countries may default.

According to estimates from the latest Global Port Tracker, total volumes at the six ports in May 2011 increased by 5.6 percent from April to 3.48 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

For the year-to-date through May, total container volumes increased by more than 9 percent year on year at the six ports, Le Havre, Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Bremen/Bremerhaven and Hamburg. But this was down on the more than 12 percent gain reported last year.

Ben Hackett, principal of Hackett Associates, said the rate of growth is slowing, as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland all have to adjust their fiscal polices, and as Asian exports post a slowdown in growth rates, projected at 5 to 6 percent or less.

He saw European imports growing at 7 percent or less, with imports only slightly higher at 8 percent, if no further repercussions from the Greek crisis are forthcoming.

In the short term, volumes are expected to remain relatively flat through October before beginning their seasonal decline.

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