In a recent report, Macquarie Equities Research said that the global container trade volume will rise in the second half of this year, but the low-inventory summer and autumn seasons may not be able to provoke an increase in freight rates.
Macquarie forecasts that global container trade will increase by 6.6% in the third quarter compared to the same period last year, and will increase by 9.8% in the fourth quarter.
In a report called "Counting Containers," Macquarie predicted that global container trade will grow by 8.1% this year. Macquarieâ€™s previous report predicted a growth rate of 7-8% this year.
The volume of trade in the second quarter was â€œvery strongâ€ and could even set a quarterly record for global container trade. However, in August to October, which was the peak season in previous years, this year is likely to become a â€œmoderate seasonâ€ for shipping demand.
"In view of the large amount of excess capacity on some routes recently, especially the European line, we believe that the volume of the peak season does not substantially stimulate the freight rate to rise," the report said.
Although the inventory/sales of US retailers are already low compared to historical levels, Macquarie also expects no surge in replenishment in the second half of the year.
The report said: "Unlike some observers' opinions, our analysis suggests that replenishment will not increase the volume of containers."
Macquarie said that durable goods only accounted for 35%-40% of US container imports, and the manufacturer's inventory is still "excess", the United States has carried out a round of replenishment after the 2009 inventory drop.
The report also pointed out that many companies with tight supply chains now have lower inventory levels that may represent â€œan ongoing structural adjustment rather than a temporary low levelâ€.
The report cited Wal-Mart's example. Earlier this year, the supermarket imposed a fine of 3% on the cost of goods for suppliers who failed to deliver their products to their distribution centers within the four-day delivery period.
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