IHS expects 8.5% trade growth in 2010
World trade by all modes of transportation will grow 8.5 percent in 2010, and 7.8 percent in 2011 according to the latest forecast from IHS Global Insight’s World Trade Service.
“Carriers are beginning to respond to an upturn in cargo volumes by increasing capacity, according to the first quarter Trends in World Economy and Trade report from the economics consulting firm.
In the container industry, cargo moved on the three major east/west “head haul trades” — Far East to Europe, Far East to North America and Europe to America now account for less than 24 percent of world trade. The World Trade Service said its forecast “suggests this ratio will not change over the long term.”
Backhaul trade lanes were impacted much less by the global recession, with “much smaller declines year-on-year. We expect a slightly stronger recovery on the backhaul legs, but afterwards growth will stabilize and remain lower than the head haul.”
Some highlights from the report:
' Trade volumes on the Far East-to-Europe routes are forecast to rise 8 percent in 2010. The export trade from Europe to Asia grew in 2009 and is expected to grow in 2010.
' Transpacific eastbound trade, from Asia to North America, began to recover in the third quarter of 2009, though the downturn in 2009 was 18 percent, and is forecast to grow 10 percent in 2010. Solid growth is forecast for westbound trade after two years of decline.
“Our view is that the stock ratio remains low and that importers will continue to import ahead of consumer demand. Consumers remain cautious, but there has been growth successively in the last three months. Consumer confidence, after unexpectedly dropping in February, has bounced back more than expected by economists in March,” said IHS Global Insight.
' Eastbound transatlantic trade, from North America to Europe, is forecast to return to 2007 levels by 2013. However, westbound transatlantic traffic will not recover to 2007 levels until 2015.
The company said major container shipping operators recorded huge losses in 2009, but said in February and March 2010, the number of containerships in layup diminished and stood at 1.2 million TEUs or 9.1 percent of the container fleet on March 1, the lowest level since July 2009. Additional capacity is expected to be put back into service in the near future as new services are opened and vessels reduce their cruising speed, IHS said.
“The outlook for bulk shipping also is improving following a dramatic reduction in bulk commodity trade over the past year. IHS Global Insight forecasts bulk trade to grow 8.9 percent in 2010 as commodity consumption demand recovers,” IHS said.
Dry bulk commodity shipping tonnage, including grain, iron ore and coal, fell 2 percent in 2009 but is forecast to grow 9.4 percent in 2010, despite decreases in global grain shipments.
Liquid bulk trade — petroleum, liquefied natural gas, and chemicals — is forecast to grow 8.5 percent in 2010.
“With the oil market well supplied with spare productive capacity of 6 million barrels per day and ample inventories in 2010, trade may continue to rise,” the consultants added.