Recent data published in the ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor suggests that while there evidently has not been a pronounced peak season of container handling demand during summer 2016, there certainly was no cyclical downturn at the end of the year either. Throughout the first nine months of 2016, the year-on-year growth of the monthly global container lifts averaged 0.1 %. During October however, growth increased to 2.4 % and November and December saw container handling volumes in a sample of global ports increase by 5.2 % and 5.3 % respectively.
If sustainable, the increase in demand dynamics could be good news for the ailing liner shipping industry which is suffering from a significant tonnage oversupply at the start of 2017. “Except for the Middle East, all regions covered in our market research show a healthy increase when comparing 2016Q4 with 2015Q4”, says Bremen-based container traffic expert Dr. Sönke Maatsch. “It will be exciting to see if the port handling figures of the next Container Port Monitor will continue to evade the normal seasonal downturn for the most part”.