Global Container Trade Grows At Fastest Pace Since 2010

Global container traffic is set to post annual year-over-year growth of 10 percent in the first three months of the year, the fastest quarterly increase since 2010, driven largely by China's intra-regional trade, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants. A surge in US imports in April, and the healthier earnings statements of major container lines point to accelerating global container shipping demand, the maritime analyst said it is too early to tell what the first quarter performance means for the rest of the year. Intra-regional volumes grew by 17 percent in the first three months, outpacing a 7 percent rise in deep-sea traffic, according to provisional data from UK-based Container Trade Statistics. Rising imports into the Greater China region are driving the "unexpectedly strong" growth that was one of the main causes of congestion in the nation's ports, Drewry said. Nearly half of the extra 2.6 million TEU handled in the first quarter came from trade with China's neighboring intra-Asia partners, and domestic cabotage and trade with North America, each contributed another two-tenths of the additional volumes. Chinese imports from Drewry's sample of trading regions increased by 28 percent, and exports to the same regions grew by 11 percent. "While the rebound in container volumes appears to be broad-based, it is clear from its well above-average growth that China is very much at the epicenter," said Drewry.   Source: Journal of Commerce