Asia ports indicate good monthly and year-to-date growth

As part of Ti’s Dashboard service, sea freight container data is monitored on a monthly basis for select ports in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The data and corresponding analysis provides useful, comparative information for freight forwarders, shippers and sea freight carriers.

For example, for the month of May, Asian ports, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Busan, noted good monthly year-over-year increases. Hong Kong noted the largest increase with 4.5% followed by Singapore with 4.1%, Busan 2.8% and Shanghai 2.4%. Year-to-date, all four ports are exhibiting good growth. For the first five months of the year, Shanghai is up 5.4%, Singapore up 4.4% while Busan is up 4.3% and Hong Kong up 3.5%.

Asia Ports

Source: Ti Dashboard: Asia Ports

What’s driving this port growth? Even though US and European sea freight imports from Asia are improving, it is the intra-Asia market that is driving an even higher growth rate. According to a recent report from UK-based Drewry Shipping Consultants, carriers such as Maersk, NYK, Hapag-Lloyd and Cosco have expanded intra-Asia service in the last year.

The report further notes that for first quarter 2014, 53% of OOCL’s total traffic came from intra-Asia and was its fastest growing lane in terms of volume, growing 14.5% while the rest of its global volume increased 3.0%.

In an earlier commentary, shipbroker business, Clarkson, noted that Cosco and China Shipping account for 57% of China’s intra-Asian capacity and appear to transport most of the country’s domestic container trade, a significant part of intra-Asian trade.

While one may be quick to attribute growing Asian domestic demand for this increase in intra-Asian trade that may not entirely be the case. The Asian supply chain is intricate as labour intensive manufacturing has moved from China to other countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. But, in turn may be fed back into the Chinese or other Asian country supply chain for final completion.

With over 80 charts, Ti’s Dashboard service provides economic, trade, industry, air, sea and overland data. It is available either as a stand-alone subscription or as part of the GSCI subscription. For more information, please contact Mike Nordmann at [email protected].