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May 16, 2017

Global container volumes up sharply in first quarter says Drewry

According to London-based Drewry Maritime Research, preliminary data shows that world container traffic made a giant leap forwards in the first quarter of 2017.

"A couple of weeks ago we argued that unexpectedly strong demand growth was one of the main causes of port congestion in China and as more data becomes available we can see more clearly the additional workload that ports and terminals are having to deal with. Provisional trade lane data from Container Trades Statistics (CTS) indicates that world box traffic surged by 10% year-on-year in 1Q17. The CTS numbers point to intra-regional trade as the primary driver of growth with volumes up by 17%, versus 7% for deep-sea traffic."

Drewry says "The small sample of carrier liftings information that has been published alongside first-quarter financial statements goes some way to corroborating CTS' big-growth story. The average volume growth for the six carriers in 1Q17 was 10%, with a wide spread between the slowest growing company Zim (4%) to the fastest growing line MOL (17%). Between them the six lines operate about 30% of the world's containership fleet."

"It's fair to say that the few, if any, saw this extreme growth coming. If confirmed, a quarterly rate of 10% for loaded container traffic would far exceed anything seen since 2010 - when demand rebounded sharply following the crash of 2009. Over the past two years 2015-16 the average quarterly rate was a mere 2.3% despite some uplift from 2Q16 onwards."

Source: Drewry Maritime Research