North European containerports have not been as severely affected by the recession as container shipping lines. However, volumes for the year are down significantly: 10 percent to 12 percent on Europe's western north continent and the U.K., 15 percent in Scandinavia, 18 percent on the eastern north continent and close to 25 percent in the eastern/southern Baltic. These numbers are from a new report by Ocean Shipping Consultants, The North European Containerports Market to 2020.
The reduction in demand means that container terminals have capacity to spare for the first time in many years. However, average ship sizes continue to increase, driven by deliveries of large vessels ordered in huge numbers before the recession and reinforced by layoffs and scrapping of older, smaller vessels. And handling these larger vessels remains a challenge for some ports.
Recovery is expected to be gradual, due to anticipated continued restraints on bank credit and the dampening effects on consumer expenditure of the fiscal measures which will be needed to repay government debt. Long-term containerport forecasts are consequently lower than previously anticipated.
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