According to PIERS data, the strength of first quarter volume indicates U.S.-Europe trade is holding up well despite fears that the onset of austerity programs in Europe could eat into eastbound cargo flows, or that U.S. consumers were still skittish about buying European luxury goods. This analysis is according to Peter T. Leach, who recently wrote an article for The Journal of Commerce using PIERS data and likened U.S.-Europe trade to the reliable Energizer Bunny—it keeps going and going.
U.S. containerized imports from Europe expanded 11.9 percent in 2010 over the depressed figures of 2009. But as with many trade figures, the rebound in trans-Atlantic container trade was only a relative recovery.
The PIERS figures show westbound container trade last year was still 10 percent behind 2008 volume. The rebound also was concentrated largely at the top. Container volume for the top 10 container lines expanded 17.3 percent year-over-year last year and nearly reached the 2008 level.
Leach’s article makes it apparent that getting a handle on European trade data is as important in good times as it is in bad times, and the pace of business is ever-changing. Leach says ships were sailing full or close to full in both directions on the Atlantic for much of last year, so carriers were able to push through hefty increases early in the year. But slowing demand in the third quarter meant they weren’t able to nail down the full rate increases they posted on October 1. The fate of the general rate increases carriers posted for April 1 remains in doubt, as shippers say enough is enough, especially when they are still negotiating the coming year’s annual contracts. Maintaining a close eye on these types of rapid developments is essential to successful global business navigation.
PIERS products are widely used by companies trading with Europe to analyze trade volume with U.S.ports, benchmark their competition’s activity, analyze market shares, source U.S.raw materials and more. To learn more register for a free demo.