The Southern Gateway, an alternative corridor to ship cargo from Asia to Europe via the Western Mediterranean hub of La Spezia and vice versa, continues to gain traction. This is part of an overall development that sees cargo flows from Asia to Europe via the Mediterranean picking up, according to the analysts from the consultancy Drewry.
The volume of Westbound shipments on the Asia-Mediterranean trade grew by 16% year-on-year in the first two months of 2017, as the Container Forecaster by Drewry Maritime Research highlights. During January to March 2017, a total of 635,356 TEUs were shipped from Asia to the Western Med. During the same period in 2016, this volume amounted to 602,796 TEUs, which corresponds to an increase of 5.4%.
Mediterranean traffic is growing
The container traffic from Asia to the Mediterranean grew faster than to North Europe over the entire year of 2016 and rose by 2.5% to 5.2 million TEUs. Traffic from Asia to North Europe merely rose by 0.3% and came in at 9.7 million TEUs, as Drewry’s analysts state.
When looking at European exports to Asia, the market share of Mediterranean ports is increasing as well. During the first three months of 2017 a total of 306,385 TEUs was recorded, whilst this number came in at 255,621 during the corresponding time in 2016. This result reflects a surge of almost 20%.
Throughput at LSCT at an all-time peak
The recent throughput record achieved at La Spezia Container Terminal (LSCT) reflects this development. During the first half of 2017, Contship’s flagship terminal handled a total throughput in excess of 666,081 TEUs. This represents a rise of 15% in total throughput, compared to the corresponding six months of 2016, when 578,963 TEUs were handled. In addition to an increase in traffic volume to and from Asia, today representing over 43% of total throughput for La Spezia, this strong performance was driven by cargo to and from the United States as well as intra-Mediterranean services.
For more information on La Spezia’s throughput record please click here.
Drewry forecasts the growth rate for the westbound Asia to Med trade to slightly improve further and increase by approximately 2 to 3%. The analysts say that most of the impetus for growth this year is likely to come from the western section of the Med. This is mainly because the eastern economies are generally standing on less firm ground in comparison.