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Preliminary port figures for September 2007 show a year-over-year growth of 11.7 percent in global container handling activity--lower than the past month's growth, according to London-based Drewry Shipping Consultants. Revised throughput figures for August have resulted in an upward revision in global handling to 13.3 percent as compared to Drewry's previous estimate of 12.2 percent. This was primarily due to healthy growth at major Spanish ports for which Drewry received data with a one-month lag. The majority of Far East ports continue to show a healthy growth in container traffic during the peak season. The major Chinese ports recorded a growth of almost 19 percent in the reporting period compared with last year.
The global container fleet grew by more than 15 percent in September, compared with the same period a year ago. The share of super-post Panamax vessels stood at 12.2 percent, up from 8.7 percent a year ago. New building activity remained strong but saw a marginal decline in ordering compared with the last few months. The global containership order book now stands at 6.3 million teus, which is 61 percent of the total fleet.
Drewry says the impact of peak season traffic and improving rates on some major east-west trade routes has had a positive impact on ocean carrier earnings, but the Far East/Europe rate increases are being felt. "The current position looks reasonably healthy although the short-term future must have some question marks caused by the weakness of the US economy and the rather disappointing indicators on the transpacific eastbound trade lane," the firm says.
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