So much for the theory that the rise in the Baltic Dry Index meant that trade volumes were recovering. From Lloyd’s List (hat tip reader Michael):
Asian container ports are bracing themselves for a grim year ahead as they report alarming drops in volumes in January.
Box throughput at Singapore, the world’s largest container port took a 19% dive in January this year to 2m teu compared to 2.4m teu for the first month of 2008.
Singapore’s sharp drop in volumes in particular reflect the collapse in the Asia- Europe trade where it is a key relay port transhipping exports from surrounding countries to Europe and the Middle East.
The picture for world’s third busiest boxport, Hong Kong was even bleaker.
Hong Kong, saw January throughput plunge 23% in January…
“We think February throughput remains challenging. Suspension of trade services, especially Asia-Europe, seems to have not ended at all as announcements had been accelerating….
At Malaysia’s largest port, Port Klang, the picture was not much better. Port Klang Authority general manager Lim Thean Shiang told local press that the port had seen a 16% drop in volumes in the first month of the year compared to January 2008…
The engine of world trade, China saw a very similar drop in throughput in January for its coastal container ports.
China’s Ministry of Transport said throughput of the country’s coastal ports has fallen for three consecutive months on a month-on-month term. China coastal ports handled 8.2m teu in January, down 15% from the same month last year and 10% from December.
The country’s third largest port, Shenzhen, saw throughput fall by 18% to 1.5m teu in the first month of this year. The proportion of empty boxes at east Shenzhen’s Yantian port district has risen from 60% to 80%, according to the city government….
The picture was equally grim for one of Southeast Asia largest exporters with the country’s [Indonesia’s] trade minister Mari Pangestu forecast that its exports could fall by at least 20% this year.
“Based on container flow for January-February, exports volume this year may decline by between 20%-30%. Non-oil and gas exports are expected to fall,” Ms Pangestu said at the weekend.