AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port Traffic Metrics: Brazil, United States

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Brazil: Port Cargo Topped 1.0 Billion Tons for the First Time Ever, TEU Count Fell in 2015

Brazilian port cargo throughput exceeded 1.0 billion metric tons for the first time ever in 2015, according to the national waterways agency, Agência Nacional de Transportes Aquaviários (ANTAQ). It was the sixth consecutive year of record tonnage and an increase of 4.0 percent, or 38.7 million tons, from 2014. Total trade includes foreign, cabotage and "inland navigation" cargo handled at the nation’s "organized ports" and "private use terminals." Brazil’s waterborne trade tonnage exceeds that of every country in the Western Hemisphere except the United States.

Year-on-year tonnage increases were posted by the dry bulk (+7.2 percent) and breakbulk sectors (+5.7) sectors and declines by containerized (-1.1 percent) and liquid bulk (-2.4 percent). Leading cargos were iron ore, fuels, containerized goods, soybeans and soybean products, bauxite, corn, fertilizers, sugar, coal, steel, wood fiber, petroleum coke, wheat and organic chemicals.

As shown in the attachment, foreign trade rose 5.4 percent to an all-time high of 752.5 million tons, with imports accounting for 142.1 million tons (-12.0 percent) and exports for 610.4 million tons (+10.5 percent). The cabotage trades – that is cargo shipped by sea between Brazilian ports – remained virtually unchanged from 2014 at 211.8 million tons. An additional 38.5 million tons of domestic cargo transited Brazil’s inland waterway system.

The container count fell to 9.1 million TEUs, a 2.1- percent drop from the 2014 record but well above the 8.2 million TEU average for the years 2010-14.

China was Brazil’s top trading partner based in 2015 on export and total cargo tonnage. The United States ranked first as a source of cargo imports and second in exports and total cargo. Brazil’s top 10 cargo markets in 2015 and comparative 2014 data are presented in the second attachment.

Global Port Tracker Predicts Import Container Decline

Retail cargo imports are likely to decline during the next few months at the largest U.S. container ports, according to the latest monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett
Nevertheless, says the report, the first half 2016 TEU count should be up 4.5 percent from a year ago.
Global Port Tracker’s conclusions are based on its survey and analysis of inbound container traffic flows at the ports of Charleston, Hampton Roads, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, New York/New Jersey, Oakland, Port Everglades, Savannah and Seattle/Tacoma.

"Retailers are carefully managing their inventories but still need to stock up on seasonal goods for spring and summer," NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. "Comparisons with last year are difficult because of the surge of cargo after problems at West Coast ports ended, but we think consumers will continue to increase their spending this year and retailers will be ready."

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.43 million TEUs in December, down 3.4 percent from the preceding month and 0.8 percent less than December 2015. That brought the 2015 year-end total to 18.2 million TEUs, up 5.3 percent from 2014.

The January count jumped 18.3 percent to 1.46 million TEUs, a skewed result due to weak volume seen last year just before agreement on a contract with West Coast dockworkers ended months of congestion.

Forecasts: February -1.39 million TEUs (+16.2 percent); March - 1.35 million TEUs (-22.4 percent); April -1.49 million TEUs (-1.2 percent); May – 1.57 million TEUs (-2.6 percent); June - 1.55 million TEUs (-1.2 percent); January-June 2016 - 8.8 million TEUs (+4.5 percent).

With the global economy still struggling, Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said government action in key nations could play a significant role in how 2016 plays out.

"Governments around the globe need to support economic policy that is pro-growth and avoid actions that get in the way of the business community," Mr. Hackett said. "This is not the time, for example, for the U.S. Federal Reserve or other central banks to increase interest rates. What all the economies of the world need is stimulus to encourage consumer spending and to increase business expansion."

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