MHIA – Trade Forecast Calls For Guarded Optimism

In cooperation with IHS Global Insight, American Shipper magazine recently released trade forecast on ocean transportation entitled “Guarded Optimism – International Ocean Freight Volumes in 2010.” The forecast provides a comprehensive analysis of cargo volumes and capacity across numerous modes and trade lanes and can be used to benchmark transportation activities against the global marketplace.

According to the forecast international trade is recovering from the global recession, in spite of disruptions such as Greece’s economic collapse, blizzards in the United States, the volcano in Iceland, and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. However, IHS Global Insight remains cautious about predicting a robust recovery for the United States as the trade deficit continues to grow and exports and imports lag pre-recession levels.

Among key U.S. trade lane partners, Asia leads the recovery, while Europe’s recovery is weaker. Although growth will be strong in many key sectors of the American economy, the trade deficit remains a problem.

U.S. government stimulus spending led the U.S. economic recovery, followed by industrial production and capital spending. World trade
initially lags real GDP in recovering. Asia-Pacific is the only region in which industrial production has fully recovered; all other regions are
behind. Global sea trade, measured in metric tons, is forecast to increase more than overall world trade, growing 8.7 percent in 2010 (to 8.1
billion tons), compared to a 3.8 percent drop in 2009. Sea trade in the short term benefits from inventory rebuilding consequently posting
strong gains.

Production Machinery and Equipment
The forecast is that the economic recovery eventually hits its stride, and capital expenditure programs should hit theirs beginning in 2011. A weak dollar and healthy growth in China, India and other foreign markets should bolster U.S. exports of machinery and equipment. In 2010, U.S. machinery and equipment exports are forecasted to grow 6.8 percent after their fall of 29 percent in 2009. Machinery and equipment import growth of 9.8 percent is recovering, though not to pre-recession levels following the plunge of 31 percent in 2009.

The complete forecast “Guarded Optimism – International Ocean Freight Volumes in 2010″ is available at no cost at

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