Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/07/2014 -- Following a year in which BMI believes saw improving freight volumes in most of the freight modes, 2014 will signal further improvement in growth dynamics across the whole freight transport sector, although some of the modes will continue struggling to return to pre-downturn levels.
Total trade is projected to pick up with our Country Risk desk forecasting a year-on-year (y-o-y) increase of 4.0% in 2014 following an estimated growth of 1.4% in 2013.
Road freight is to continue to dominate the sector and is projected to grow by 0.5% in 2014. The mode did not manage to defy the downturn and so far appears to be struggling to recover to its pre-2008 volumes. BMI notes that inland waterway freight, having fully recovered its 2006 levels, continues increasing its share in Belgium's freight mix, while the return to growth in box throughput is projected at the country's top seaport.
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Headline Industry Data
- 2014 Air freight tonnage is expected to grow by 2.2%
- 2014 Rail freight is forecast to grow by 3%
- 2014 Port of Antwerp throughput is forecast to grow by 4%
- 2014 Port of Antwerp container throughput is forecast to grow by 2%
- 2014 Road freight is forecast to grow by 0.5%
- 2014 Inland waterway freight is forecast to grow by 2.7%
- 2014 Total real trade growth is forecast at 4%.
Key Industry Trends
Liege Airport to Benefit from Adding Smartphone and Tablet Focus - Navitrans' latest flights between key smartphone and tablet computer manufacturing hubs in China and Liege Airport will be a driver of cargo tonnage at the Belgian facility. Liege Airport has established itself as a European gateway over the past decade. With Europe a major consumer of these devices, we expect cargo growth at the airport to continue upwards.
Antwerp to Expand to Accommodate P3 - Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) aims to further expand its activities in Antwerp, its port authority announced on December 3 2013, adding that the carrier officially asked Antwerp Port Authority 'to be able to do this' in the port's Deurganck dock. MSC is Antwerp's largest container customer, handling some 4.6mn TEUs in 2012 in the Delwaide dock where it operates.
Risks to Outlook
Despite enjoying a relatively strong recovery following the global financial crisis, the Belgian economy is nonetheless vulnerable to the lingering crisis in the single-currency area. A particular concern is the national debt which, at close to 100% of GDP, leaves Belgium vulnerable to deterioration in risk sentiment and slowdown in economic growth.
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