Europe's total import volume for containerised cargo in the first five months of the year decreased by 20.6 per cent to 6.9 million TEU year on year on the back low demand.
Europe's total import volume for containerised cargo in the first five months of the year decreased by 20.6 per cent to 6.9 million TEU year on year on the back low demand, surplus capacity and weakening freight rates. According to figures provided by the European Liner Affairs Association (ELAA), Europe's export volume fell 14 per cent year-on-year to 4.9 million TEU, down from 5.7 million TEU in 2008. The rate of the decline slowed in May, when imports fell 16.5 per cent from the same month last year and exports decreased 8.9 per cent.
The ELAA said the decline in freight rates on imports from the Far East was at its worst in the five months through May, when the index fell to 49 per cent from 100 on January 1, but that rates are now showing some signs of recovery.
The index of rates on exports to North America, for example, fell to 76 in May from 100 in January. The downturn affecting shipping has prompted several lines to seek financing, while industry experts expect one or more big container lines will go under.
Singaporean shipping company NOL is seeking SGD1.4 billion (US$970 million) in fresh capital to strengthen its balance sheet, while Hapag-Lloyd earlier this month told its shareholders it needed to raise EUR1.75 billion (US$2.5 billion) in fresh capital. Chile's CSAV is raising US$710 million as part of a rescue deal agreed by the owners of its ships, a report by the Financial Times said.
Most carriers have been suffering heavy losses since the financial crisis hit in the fourth quarter of 2008, knocking the wind out what had been a booming market.
Neptune Orient Lines' container shipping arm APL has seen its container shipping volume decline 14 per cent to 172,200 FEU from May 30 to June 26 compared to the same period a year earlier, owing to lower demand on nearly all major trade lanes.
Its average revenue per FEU fell during the reporting period by 29 per cent year-on-year to US$2,190 from $3,080 last year.
APL's container shipping volume in the year through June 26 decreased by 24 per cent to 970,600 FEU from 1,268,600 FEU in the same period last year. The carrier's average revenue per FEU for the year to date fell by 20 per cent to $2,375 from $2,972 last year.