Drewry’s pessimism about global container traffic trends is growing. The London-based consulting firm has in fact announced that it has updated its forecasts for the current year concerning traffic throughputs recorded by ports globally, with a negative adjustment from 3.3% in January to the current -8%.
The economic crisis triggered by the Coronavirus clearly weighs on the sector. “Due to the very bad economic situation, the second quarter could close with a 16% downturn,” explains Simon Haeney, Drewry’s senior manager.
According to the consultancy firm, the current trend will gradually improve during the second half of the year thanks to the relaxation of lockdown measures. However, nothing is certain: “If we fail to contain the virus or if there is another outbreak next year, we will be forced to revise our forecasts, revising them further downwards,” said Mr. Heaney.
Moreover, the International Monetary Fund has pointed out that it is very likely there will be a further cut in global growth forecasts due to the pandemic. In the worst-case scenario, in the event of a false recovery, for example, world GDP could fall by as much as 6%.
A setback of this kind would have very serious repercussions on throughputs recorded by ports globally, which would be reduced by 12% in 2020 and 6% in 2021.
Clearly, the continuation of this state of uncertainty could have repercussions on the financial stability of many shipping companies, exposing them to the risk of bankruptcy.
Translation by Giles Foster