TRANSPACIFIC CARRIERS PREDICT 10% EASTBOUND CARGO GROWTH
Shipping lines of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, the group of 13 ocean carriers in the Asia to U.S. trade, predict that eastbound cargo volumes this rise by about 10 percent this year, compared to 1999.
“Where the lines were previously forecasting a 7-8 percent increase in cargo volumes for the year, it now appears likely that growth will reach 10 percent,” a spokesman for the carrier group said.
The TSA carriers are APL, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen, Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, “K” Line, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Maersk Sealand, P&O Nedlloyd, NYK Line, Orient Overseas Container Line and Yangming Marine Transport.
The group also forecast that eastbound vessel capacity in the trade will rise by 8 to 10 percent this year. The TSA said that this would maintain “a general supply-demand balance eastbound.”
In January, eastbound cargo volumes soared by 20 percent, as compared to January of last year. The TSA said that its shipping line members “are seeing surprising cargo growth during what is typically a slack season, suggesting that expansion of the eastbound market is continuing unabated.”
The TSA released its bullish market forecast as transpacific carriers and shippers prepare to negotiate annual service contracts, generally due to expire at the end of April, and rate increases requested by carriers. The carrier group plans to increase rates by $400 per 40-foot container, effective May 1, and implement a $300-per-40-footer peak season surcharge applicable to shipments during the period from July 1 to Oct. 31.