LOOKING on another peak season that never was, northern European ports saw no relief in a disappointing fourth quarter, reports Lloyd's List.
In October, declines east-west trades were posted for an eighth straight month, down 1.8 per cent over last year to 1.2 million TEU, according to the latest figures published by Container Trades Statistics (CTS).
Year-to-date box numbers continue to run below 2014 levels, meaning that annual Asia-Europe container volume contraction is in the offing for the first time since 2009.
At the end of October they were 4.6 per cent lower year on year, falling from 12.9 million TEU to 12.3 million TEU.
The forecasts from analysts are for a five per cent increase in capacity on the Asia-Europe trade. North European ports were also hit hard by Russian sanctions.
Volumes to the region from Asian ports fell 4.5 per cent year on year in October to 759,020 TEU, while year-to-date traffic was down 4.1 per cent to 8.1 million TEU.
However, there was better news for the Asia-Mediterranean carriers in October.
But the west Mediterranean and North Africa trade did better. Carriers moved 196,607 TEU in October, up 4.6 per cent over last year's 187,888 TEU.
Same with the Asia-east Med and Black Sea trade, where October volumes were up 1.9 per cent over last year to 212,784 TEU.
Poor results were not restricted to the Asia-Europe trade as global figures showed weaknesses in key economies and continued to impact growth in demand.
According to CTS, global volumes from January through to October this year of 116.3 million TEU are 20,000 TEU short of the total number of boxes lifted during the corresponding period last year with October being down 0.5 per cent to 11.6 million TEU worldwide.
Source : HKSG.