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Container volume growth to slow in 2019 owning to US-China trade rows

CONTAINER volumes globally are expected to expand by 30 million TEU in 2019, after handling a combined 800 million TEU in 2018, generating an estimated US$25 billion before taxes

Container volume growth to slow in 2019 owning to US-China trade rows

CONTAINER volumes globally are expected to expand by 30 million TEU in 2019, after handling a combined 800 million TEU in 2018, generating an estimated US$25 billion before taxes

14 January 2019 - 19:00

CONTAINER volumes globally are expected to expand by 30 million TEU in 2019, after handling a combined 800 million TEU in 2018, generating an estimated US$25 billion before taxes.

Drewry Shipping Consultants senior analyst Neil Davidson predicts: 'We will see a softening of the global container port demand growth rate, down from an estimated 4.7 per cent in 2018 to just over four per cent in 2019.'



However, 'the projection for 2019 is highly uncertain due to the US-China tariff wars, Brexit, etc. So there is a big caveat,' said Mr Davidson.



He expects terminal operators and other investors to remain cautious 'because returns are not what they used to be. Even Chinese players may be affected if China's economy slows markedly, American Shipper reported.



'Greenfield expansion projects will be the area hardest hit. Nevertheless, a global capacity addition of over 25 million TEU can be expected in 2019, representing a spend of $7.5 billion,' he said.



Mr Davidson continued: 'The good news for the industry is that there will be no significant increase in maximum containership size (maximum TEU intake is going up but physical dimensions are not). However, cascading will still be very much at work across all trade routes, and each port will see increasing pressure on whichever berths are able to handle the biggest ships.'



He also expects new technologies such as 'digitisation, automation, blockchain, smart ports, IoT (Internet of Things), hyperloop etc. will continue to be vigorously explored by both terminal operators and port authorities' as they seek to find which ones 'really work and what has the best potential.'



He added: 'Terminal operators and port authorities will continue to seek to expand their activities beyond the port gate into the wider supply chain,' but noted 'it's a crowded field, with the heavyweight liner shipping companies aiming to do the same thing.'


WORLD SHIPPING

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