World container trade appears to be back on track after two lean years according to Drewry, with global throughput increasing by 6.6% in the first six months of 2017 across its sample of 150 ports.
The consultancy had forecast growth of 4.1% over 2017 but if trade maintains its pace for the remainder of the year, this will be the fastest growing year since 2011.
According to Drewry’s research, the increase in container handling is a result of the “resilience” of the world economy which has been highlighted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) upgrading its global outlook for 2017 and 2018.
Furthermore, several oil-focused economies have staged recoveries, while the easing of sanctions in Russia and Iran has aided trade.
In addition, the stagnant nature of container trade over 2015 and 2016 has meant that the 2017 half-year growth looks especially spectacular, although Drewry has “little doubt” that the final-year figure will eclipse anything seen in the past two years.
“We expect the second half of the year to deliver similar volumes as the first half,” Drewry said in a statement.
Data gathered from CTS, PIERS and Datamar in a selection of key trades indicates that worldwide trade growth for the half-year was in the region of 4-5%.
Research by Drewry indicates that container volumes on the East-West trades grew by 5.6% while the North-South trades received a 2.7% boost.
In particular, Asia – Mediterranean, Asia – the East Coast of North America (ECNA) and Asia – Southern Africa were strong performers with growth close to 10%.
The only trade to suffer a dip was Europe – Middle East where volumes decreased by 2.4%.