Global box demand maintains upward trend


GLOBAL container volumes continued to climb at a healthy rate in the early stages of the second half of the year, as the major deepsea trades continued to drive up numbers.

The latest data published by Container Trades Statistics shows that total seaborne traffic on the world’s liner trades was recorded at 13.5m teu in July, up 4.7% on the 12.9m teu recorded in the corresponding month last year.

For the first seven months of 2017, global containerised cargo movements were up 4.7% year on year from 88.5m teu to 92.7m teu, according to CTS.

This is line with current analyst forecasts for full-year growth of around 4%-5% in 2017, as the industry looks to bounce back after of two successive years of tepid growth in the 1%-2% range.

So far this year it has been the major liner routes that have reported the most generous increases in traffic, with both the Asia-Europe and transpacific routes reporting buoyant box numbers on the strength of the US and key European economies.

However, as yet this has failed to have any significant impact on freight rates. While remaining at levels above last year, spot rates have stayed relatively flat as capacity has risen steadily to more than cope with cargo increases.

On the Asia-Europe trade, volumes in July were up 6% on the year-ago period from 1.38m teu to 1.46m teu. Year-to-date traffic was tracking 5.3% above 2016 levels in the January-July period.

The upward volume trend continued on transpacific, or Asia-North America, trade in July, when 20 ft box units jumped 7.5% on the same month last year from 1.43m to 1.54m teu.

Year-to-date traffic on the headhaul trade was up 7.5% in the first seven months of 2017.