Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/15/2013 -- BMI maintains its cautious outlook for the Chinese freight transport sector, highlighting that indicators continue to align to back our view of a slowdown in China's economic growth. China's economic imbalances have grown consistently over the past decade, to a point where we now believe they have reached a peak. We are forecasting real GDP growth of 7.1% in 2013. As well as slowing domestic demand, another major risk to container throughput at the port is decreasing import demand from the US and the EU. Exports of goods and services constitute 39.7% of China's GDP.
Monthly freight transport volume results for the first eight months of 2012 largely support our view that a noticeable slowdown in Chinese economic growth is set to come into effect during our forecast period. Our core view on Chinese growth is that we are past the boom phase and are entering a period of much weaker expansion. The slowdown in the construction sector will result in less demand for imports of goods such as iron ore and coal, while ports and shipping lines alike are feeling the effects of a gradual contraction in China's overseas trade volumes over our mid-term forecast period. Although this moderation in growth is expected to be soft, concerns over the possibility of a sharper contraction in Chinese bilateral trade adds a degree of downside risk to our projections.
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Headline Industry Data
- 2013 air freight tonnes/km is expected to grow by 6.1%.
- 2013 rail freight tonnes/km is forecast to grow by 4.0%.
- 2013 Port of Shanghai throughput is forecast to grow by 2.3%.
- 2013 road freight tonnes/km is forecast to grow by 8.0%.
Key Industry Trends
Air China Cargo Braves Europe Slowdown
Despite declining demand from Europe, Air China Cargo is expanding its links to the region. The operator is no doubt hoping to play a major role in catering for electronic equipment shipments from China's growing electronics manufacturing hubs of Chongqing and Chengdu. BMI highlights that the major beneficiary of the service is set to be the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, which has so far recorded declines in its cargo throughput in 2012.
CIMC Diversifies Into Ship-Owning
The world's largest container manufacturer, China International Maritime Containers (CIMC) is diversifying into the ship-owning sector by ordering four container vessels, which it has signed long-term charters for. The strategy comes on the back of poor H112 results for the company and is a tactic which Greek companies used to much success in the previous downturn.
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