On a global level, we continue to see risks to all three core shipping sectors (container and dry and liquid bulk), with overcapacity and a drop in demand continually threatening to push down rates and impinge on lines' profits. As austerity measures take hold in Europe and the US continues to have high unemployment and recover from the downturn sluggishly, shipping levels may slow their growth considerably.
The outlook for the Indian maritime freight sector is rosy, however. The country's rapid economic growth, and attendant expansion in its middle class and consumer market, is feeding rapid growth in the throughput of the country's ports. A number of new terminals are being developed in order to cater for this, in addition to the expansion of existing terminals. The Indian air freight sector is equally buoyant, though Indian Railways is facing budgeting difficulties, putting the Dedicated Freight Corridor at risk.
Headline Industry Data:
- 2011 Port of Kandla tonnage throughput growth forecast is 8.01% and is expected to average 10.98% per annum to 2015.
- 2011 rail freight tonnes/km growth forecast is 5.73% and is expected to average 6.52% to 2015.
- 2011 air freight tonnes growth forecast is 7.33% and is expected to average 7.95% to 2015.
- 2011 total trade real growth forecast at 12.15%.
Key Industry Trends:
Eastern Promise: Lufthansa To Develop Pharmaceuticals Transport Hub In India Lufthansa Cargo and GMR Group, the operator of Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) detailing their intention to jointly develop the airport into the key cargo hub in South Asia for the transport of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals.
Cars Going By Rail:
Japanese shipping and logistics company Nippon Yusen KK (NYK) has announced that it is to launch a new service transporting automobiles by rail in India next month. BMI notes that this is the latest in a series of moves by the Japanese firm intended to boost integration with the Indian market.
New DHL LCL Service To Help India And South Africa Meet Bilateral Trade Targets:
Global logistics giant DHL has launched a new less than container load (LCL) service between India and South Africa. BMI notes that this is just the latest example of international courier firms expanding in the subcontinent, which should help the two countries realise their aim of achieving bilateral trade worth US$15bn by 2014.
Indian Cabotage Rules Relaxed In Time For Opening Of ICTT:
As UAE-based terminals operator DP World had hoped, the strict cabotage rules for shipping along India's coastline have been relaxed in time for the opening of the company's latest container terminal. BMI has been concerned for some time about whether the slew of Indian ports being developed would be able to compete with the likes of Jebel Ali and Colombo while these rules were in place. If reports that the cabotage rules have now been put on hold are true, then we can expect to see Indian ports begin to come into their own as transhipment hubs for the subcontinent.
Kochi Workers Down Tools As ICTT Launch Nears:
The opening of the new terminal has not been welcomed by all, however. The port of Kochi was hit by strikes at the beginning of February, bringing the port's operations to a standstill. Workers were demanding job protection, as they are fearful about what will happen following the opening of the ICTT. BMI notes that Kochi is not the first port to be hampered by industrial action when an international terminals operator enters the fray.
Indian Ports Plan For Bright Future:
It is not only the new developments in the Indian ports sector that are looking towards future successes. The sector is preparing for projected growth in the country, with two existing major ports outlining longterm plans for expansion. Given BMI's projections for growth in the mid term, the extra capacity will be needed.
Key Risks To Outlook:
If the states of Karnataka and Orissa do not lift their restrictions on the shipping of iron ore then a number of Indian ports, not least New Mangalore, may see lower throughputs than BMI currently forecasts.