Swings and roundabouts

The eastbound Asia to West Coast North America market continues its six-year run of strong demand growth, but weak spot rates will damage carriers’ income.

Headhaul Asia to West Coast North America container traffic was buoyant in the third quarter, rising by 6.7% year-on-year, although a disappointing return for October when volumes slid by 1.9%, dampened the year-to-date rate to 5%.

October’s slightly weaker throughput growth is somewhat distorted by Hanjin’s collapse of a year ago (since in October 2016 the backlog of the carriers’ exports were being cleared) but while eastbound flows have been tailing off we expect them to lift off again in January as importers replenish inventories before factories in Asia close for the Chinese New Year holidays in mid-February.

Source: Drewry

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