Similar to the Asia-North Europe trade, the backhaul market is currently on top in the Asia-Mediterranean/North Africa route, MANA correspondent reported.
Eastbound shipments increased by 16% year-on-year in the first two months of 2017, massively overshadowing a 3% drop in the westbound leg.
The same CTS numbers confirm that container traffic from Asia to the Med grew faster than to North Europe in 2016, rising by 2.5% versus 0.3%. However, despite the sluggish start to the year Drewry’s latest forecast for the westbound Asia to Med trade is for a slight improvement in the growth rate.
“The westbound trade should return similar growth as seen in 2016 this year, of between 2-3%. The West Med region has more upside than the East Med but freight rates will continue to be pressured by the entrance of bigger ships,” Drewry said.
On the capacity front the shake-up caused by the alliance restructuring will see westbound slots increase by May to their highest level since August last year, the shipping consultancy informed.