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TRANSPORTCEO - 13/12/2017
Container trade grows between Asia and the Middle East.

According to Drewry, after a long period of sterile growth, he has returned to trade between Asia and the Middle East, although the same does not happen with freight rates. South Asia continues to outperform its neighbor with rising rates.

It took six quarters, but growth finally returned to container trade from Asia to the Middle East, which improved 7.2% year-on-year in the third quarter, according to the latest Container Trades Statistics (CTS) release. The recent increase was enough to boost the year's growth to date in positive territory, with volumes of nine months up to 0.7% to 2.5 million TEU.

The uptick in the volumes re-starts the operation to potentially reach Drewry's outlook in October of approximately 3%, with the Middle East region boosted by the strengthening of oil prices and growing confidence among consumers. and the companies. The IMF recently improved its GDP forecast for the Middle East and North Africa in 2018 by 0.2 points to a moderate 3.2%, which would represent a whole point over the projection for 2017. However, growth is not expected to extend from uniformly next year with two diverging paths for two of the largest container economies; the UAE exceeds the regional average by 3.4%, while Saudi Arabia is projected to grow only 1.1%.

Growth has not been a problem in Asia's market in South Asia, which outstripped the route from Asia to the Middle East in 2014 and has since continued to expand. The latest CTS data put the volumes to the west of South Asia to 7.3% after nine months, after a year-on-year increase of 10% in the third quarter, the fastest of this type since the second quarter of 2015. Based on the current rate of the year to date, the operation will come close to breaking the barrier of 4 million TEU, which would represent an amazing increase of around 40% since 2012.

The operators of Asia-Middle East were proactive in dealing with the lowest seasonal fall in volumes during the third quarter by reducing the total available space, shaving approximately 40,000 TEU per month on average during the last three months. This helped shore up average boat utilization, but only to around 60% and was not enough to prevent erosion in spot rates.

More capacity is being added to the trade with two new services (which also cover South Asia) and a new participant in the SM Line form:

• MSC - Petra Express (8 x 4,800 TEU ships) calling Singapore, Ningbo, Shanghai, Nansha, Shekou, Singapore, Colombo, Salalah, Djibouti, King Abdulla, Sokhna, Aqaba, King Abdullah, Salalah and back to Singapore .

• Gold Star (Zim), KMTC, RCL, SM Line, T.S. Lines - RPM (6 x 5,000-6,500 TEU) calling to Xingang, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Shekou, Port Kelang, Colombo, Karachi, Dubai, Colombo, Port Kelang, Singapore and back to Xingang.

After the start of these new loops, more adjustments for lost trips and services that return to their maximum power, Drewry estimates that the capacity to the west of Asia-Middle East will increase sharply in December and January, and it is estimated that this last month will have approximately 13% additional slots compared to the same month a year earlier.




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