Europe-Asia capacity crunch a sign of shifting trade patterns, says Maersk - The Loadstar
The eastbound capacity crunch hitting shippers to Asia is not temporary, but the beginning of a more permanent shift in trading patterns, Maersk Line told The Loadstar today.
The current capacity crunch on the Europe-Asia backhaul leg was originally attributed to a severe cull of westbound sailings during the Chinese new year holiday, but there has also been a big spike in demand, according to Maersk.
[Maersk Line’s trade manager for the route, Sushil Sriram] said there was a definite shift in the Chinese economy towards production for domestic consumption, evidenced by the recent rise in the import of raw materials, including iron ore.
Beijing’s long-term strategy for GDP expansion is for consumer demand to replace exports as China’s main engine for economic growth, and Mr Sriram confirmed there was a big increase in demand, especially for western luxury goods – “everybody wants a BMW or a Mercedes”.
Mr Sriram explained that the euro’s continued erosion of value against the US dollar in the past year, as well as further falls in the value of sterling since the UK’s referendum vote last June, have made European exports more attractive in Asia.