The research arm of Japan’s largest freight forwarder expects the country’s container trade growth to accelerate and increase for the second straight year in fiscal year 2017.
Japan’s container trade will grow 0.9 percent year-over-year to 11.9 million twenty-foot-equivalent units in the fiscal year starting in April, building on the 0.2 percent growth projected for fiscal 2016, according to Nittsu Research Institute and Consulting Inc.
The forecast of container trade growth in Japan by the subsidiary of Nippon Express looks at the eight ports that together handle 90 percent of Japan’s containerized trade: the Port of Tokyo, the Port of Yokohama, the Port of Nagoya, the Port of Osaka, the Port of Kobe, the Port of Shimizu, the Port of Yokkaichi, and the Port of Hakata.
NRIC projects exports will climb 1.1 percent to 4.9 million TEUs in fiscal 2017 amid moderate global economic growth but warns that exports could slip into negative territory depending on “uncertain” US-bound shipments since the United States is Japan’s largest export market. Exports could also become negative if the pace of recovery in shipments to emerging markets slows or declines.
Japanese imports should rise 0.7 percent to 6.9 million TEUs, as the trade battles against sluggish growth in consumer spending and corporate capital investment that have held back Japan’s economic growth, NRIC said.
Japan’s three largest container lines — NYK Line, MOL, and 'K' Line — will welcome the growth in their home market as NYK and 'K' Line in January warned of record losses for the fiscal year and MOL said it would not post any profit.
The three announced in October that they would merge their container operations to achieve the economies of scale needed to remain competitive in a rapidly consolidating industry.