Volume recovery in Far East-Europe and Transpacific trade
Container volumes on the headhaul Far East-Europe and Far East-North America tradelanes recorded a mild recovery in 2016, based on latest statistics from CTS and PIERS. According to CTS data, the Far East-Europe trade reached 15.08 Mteu in 2016, for an increase of 1.2%. This follows a contraction of –3.1% on the trade recorded in 2015, caused mainly by a reduction in Russian demand.
More stable volumes to Russia in 2016 have helped to stem the fall in total volumes to Northern Europe (+0.8%), while strong growth in the West Med (3.9%) also helped mitigate flat volume growth in the East Med (+0.2%). Overall Far East-Europe volumes remain below the peak of 2014, when a total of 15.39 Mteu was recorded, with Russian volumes still significantly below 2014 levels. The Far East-US trade recorded a stronger 4.3% growth to reach an all-time high of 14.21 Mteu in 2016, based on data provided by PIERS. This marked the seventh consecutive year of positive volume growth on the Transpacific trade.
Volume growth to the US West Coast and US East Coast was almost equally matched at 3.4% and 3.3%, respectively, with the opening of the new Panama Canal locks in June last year making no significant difference to the cargo split between the US West Coast and East Coast. However, volumes to the US Gulf recorded a 26.6% growth rate, thanks to the introduction of a new Far East-US Gulf ‘TP-18/Lone Star Express’ service by the 2M partners in May last year.