Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/14/2013 -- Our overall outlook for the US economy is cautious and we maintain our outlook for subdued growth at the US's main container ports in 2013, on the back of continuing concerns about the health of the US economy. For 2013, we maintain our growth forecast of 2.1%, owing to increasing domestic and external headwinds. The downside shock risks remain prevalent, but the balance of evidence suggests that the economy has and will continue to avoid recession barring a major crisis. There are two major risks to the economy over the next six to 12 months. The first is the impending fiscal tightening, set to impact in January 2013 absent an active policy decision to postpone. The second is the eurozone crisis, which threatens the global economy as a whole.
Volumes at US ports face headwinds in the form of sluggish private consumption recovery and slow demand for exports. US private consumption will continue to recover very slowly as a combination of still-high unemployment, ongoing deleveraging, low wage growth and a dependency on government transfers continue to weigh on spending growth. The US export sector is likely to face increasing headwinds from abroad, centred around reduced European demand amid a eurozone recession and potential for dollar strength. Just under one quarter of US exports go to the European Union, and the European crisis is likely to impact non-eurozone demand for US goods and services.
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Key Industry Data
- At the port of Los Angeles (LA) we forecast 4.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in total tonnage in 2013, to reach 69.5mn tonnes.
- At the East Coast port of New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ), growth is forecast to be 1.4% y-o-y in 2013, to reach 143.4mn tonnes.
- We expect LA to record growth of 4.4% in twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) throughput in 2013 to reach 8.6mn TEUs.
- We expect NY/NJ to record a 5.3% increase in TEU throughput in 2013, to reach 6mn TEUs.
Key Industry Trends
Expanded Rail Terminal To Support Savannah Growth
BMI believes that upside risk is presented to our already-bullish throughput growth forecast for the US Port of Savannah as the Georgia Port Authority (GPA) has announced the opening of its expanded intermodal transfer facility. The greater connectivity presented to the port by the new facility will help the Port of Savannah accommodate the expected increase in volumes once the expansion of the Panama Canal is completed.
Sandy Poses Risk For New York/New Jersey Forecast
BMI believes Hurricane Sandy, the storm that recently battered the US North East - and particularly its coastal regions - could lead to a revision of our throughput forecasts for East Coast facilities. The Port of New York/New Jersey was the worst affected, and was closed for a number of days. Other facilities are poised to benefit from the run-off of vessels.
MSC Returns To Port Miami
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