MOL REMAINS CAUTIOUS OVER PACIFIC CARGO GROWTH
The Japanese shipping line MOL said that eastbound transpacific cargo volumes have increased strongly, but it remains cautious about the extent of the apparent boom.
“For the last month or so, our ships were quite full,” Osama Suzuki, general manager of MOL, told American Shipper.
Suzuki, who runs the liner business of MOL at its headquarters in Tokyo, said that cargo volumes have resumed quickly after the traditional Chinese New Year break, and were higher than expected.
However, he warned that the increase in the eastbound transpacific cargo trade has been partly driven by unusual factors, such as importers replenishing their inventories and advancing shipments ahead of potential labor actions at U.S. West Coast ports.
“I am cautious,” Suzuki said. “I’m not quite sure whether we can consider this is a recovery of the American market.”
While the U.S. economic recovery has been faster than expected, according to analysts, the impact of the improved economy on the transpacific shipping market is regarded as unclear.
Suzuki said that the recovery of the transpacific container market will depend on consumer behavior in the United States.
MOL expects transpacific eastbound container traffic to increase by 7 to 8 percent this year, compared to 2001. In 2001, eastbound cargo volumes rose by 2 percent.