Global container trade growth bounces back – Alphaliner 

Shipping container price spike points to global trade growth

By Jite Eriabie 

Driven by strong volume growth across all main regions, the global container throughput growth is on track to exceed 6% in 2017, according to Alphaliner.

Following a strong first half growth estimated at 6.7%, third quarter throughput figures have remained robust. Chinese ports (including Hong Kong) led the way, recording a 9.3% growth in the period from July to September. Total volumes at Chinese ports increased by 9.1% in the first nine months of the year.

“The strong container volume growth this year is expected to lift the TEU to GDP multiplier to 1.7 times global GDP growth, reversing the recent downward trend that has seen the multiplier drop to below 1.0 in the previous two years,” Alphaliner said.

Predictions that the container trade had reached a mature phase of its development, with volume growth expected to grow only on par with GDP, “proved to be overly pessimistic, even though container volume growth is unlikely to see a return to the 2 to 3 times GDP ratio that it had enjoyed prior to 2008.”

Global economic recovery is continuing with the IMF lifting its global GDP growth forecast for 2017 and 2018 to 3.6% and 3.7% respectively in the latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) report released on October 10, rebounding strongly from last year’s 3.2% growth rate which was the lowest annual growth rate since the global financial crisis in 2009.

The improved outlook is reflected in the latest container lifting statistics, with both the Aisa-Europe and Transpacific headhaul routes registering 5.3% growth, Alphaliner concluded.     

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