Transatlantic container traffic rises in both directions up to Q3: Drewry

  Oct. 30--CONTAINER shipments from North Europe to the United States, Canada and Mexico increased by 4.7 per cent year on year from January to August, according to statistics from PIERS and CTS, Drewry reported in its latest Container Insight Weekly.

  The London-based shipping research and consulting firm attributed the growth mainly to Mexico's rising demand for auto parts, reported American Shipper.

  On the North America (including Mexico) to North Europe trade, volumes were up 2.9 per cent year on year in the first seven months of 2017, due to a solid performance between April and June.

  Compared to the first seven months of 2016, volumes on the eastbound leg from: the US east coast rose 2.2 per cent; the US Gulf coast rose 0.8 per cent; the US west coast rose 1.6 per cent; Canada rose 1.6 per cent; and Mexico rose 9.7 per cent. Mexico now accounts for 15 per cent of the total eastbound trade.

  On the North Europe to North America (including Mexico) leg, spot rates stayed around U$1,750 per FEU in the first half of the year before dropping by $50 in July. However, rates recovered to peak this year at $1,800 in September, according to Drewry's Container Freight Rate Insight.

  On the North America to North Europe leg, spot rates dropped from $530 per FEU last September to $500 per FEU this September.

  Looking ahead, Drewry does not expect any sudden spike in eastbound traffic, despite the value of the US dollar to the Euro declining by 14 per cent since the start of the year. The eastbound transatlantic trade appears to be a very stubborn market, with container volumes typically staying at very stable levels, Drewry explained.

  "Even if a weaker dollar does spark a surge in American exports, the carriers' surplus equipment stocks in areas such as New York will legislate against any attempts to raise what are still pitifully low backhaul freight rates," the analysts said.

  Drewry also predicts westbound demand to taper off through the rest of the year, with freight rates remaining firm.


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