Carriers hoping for a respite from difficult market conditions with the traditionally buoyant peak season may be disappointed as a recent survey has revealed that shippers expect this year’s peak season to be subdued.
Shippers tell Drewry survey they don’t expect much of a volume uplift in the third-quarter peak season.
Nearly half of the 51 shippers who responded to the survey by Drewry Supply Chain Advisers said they expect volumes for the third-quarter peak season to be the same as they were last year, while another 35% anticipate lower volumes.
Only 18% predicted higher volumes for container shipping’s busy period.
The results of the survey confirm that international trade remains sluggish. They will also be disappointing news to ocean carriers, who are in need of a pick-me-up in another difficult and unprofitable year, and to terminal operators, many of whom have under-utilised capacity.
Carriers have taken the unprecedented step of removing capacity in key trades ahead of the peak season in a bid to support freight rates, suggesting their short-term demand forecasts were telling them much the same story.
The poor state of the global economy was the most cited reason for the lack of optimism; “We don’t expect any peak whatsoever given the capacity in the market and an overall subdued global economy,” said one respondent.
Others pointed to lower levels of re-stocking as a reason for their lower expectations, while a couple said that they moved more goods earlier in the year than usual to take advantage of low freight rates. However, this appears to be a relatively rare occurrence as 82% of shippers said that they haven’t altered their shipping patterns this year.
Despite the capacity cutbacks 78% of shippers said that they are not worried about securing sufficient space in the peak season.
Of the shippers that said they are concerned that space is getting tighter, some cited the rising use of void sailings and the new container weighing law as factors. “Even though the traditional peak seasons have not been disrupting the supply chain much in the past years we are wary of surprises,” said one shipper.