Nov 28, 2013

JIFFA's multimodal throughput hits record-high in 1H FY2013

According to the figures compiled by the Japan International Freight Forwarders Association (JIFFA), the international multimodal handlings of its member companies in the first half (April-September) of fiscal 2013 totaled 48,009,000 ton in terms of exports and imports combined, up by 2.2% from the same period a year earlier. With this, the JIFFA members renewed the record-high throughput for any half-year period. Amid the softening economic growth in China and the ASEAN region, which has bolstered the global economy thus far, exports dipped by a slight 0.8% from a year earlier to 16,925,000 tons, representing the second consecutive period of decline. On the contrary, imports fared better, breaking the 30 million-ton barrier for the first time on a half-year basis by jumping 4% to 31,084,000 tons.

Combined export/import figures per half-year period in the past three years had been characterized by the virtually flat movement of export cargoes and the soaring volume of imports, surpassing by a wide margin the level (23,457,000 tons in the first half of fiscal 2008) that was registered prior to the Lehman shock. Further, the ratio of consolidated cargoes in the total throughput jumped 10% or 0.5 points in terms of exports and dropped 6.2% or 0.2 points in terms of imports. Total consolidated cargoes dipped 7.5% or 0.1 points. In particular, consolidated cargoes occupying imports have been on a downward trend in recent years.

The highest-ranking countries/regions in terms of combined export/import handlings during the period under review are China at the top spot with 20,016,000 tons, topping the 20 million-ton mark. When combined with the handlings in Hong Kong (3,462,000 tons), which holds the No. 4 spot, China's share in the total volume would come to 48.9%, nearly half of the entire throughput. At second and third places are the U.S. (4,402,000 tons) and Europe (3,688,000 tons), respectively. South Korea secured the fifth spot with 2,902,000 tons.

Based on the rankings of countries/regions per export/import and transport method, China-bound cargoes climbed 2.9% to 3.7 million tons in the export segment, securing the No.1 spot. China's growth rate might have slowed down, but its share in the total throughput still surged 0.8 points to 21.9%. As for the U.S., which is at the second place, its exports dipped 5.5% to 2,629,000 tons owing to the recovery in the business climate in the country. At the No.3 spot is South Korea, with export shipments to the country contracting 0.7% to 1,486,000 tons. Europe was at the No.4 place with a 1.9% reduction in exports to 1,419,000 tons, representing a contraction in the margin of decline from the same period a year earlier (when exports suffered from a 16.2% drop) thanks to the bottoming out of the recession in the region. Exports to Thailand, which is at the No.5 spot, sustained a sharp 41.9% plunge to 1,096,000 tons owing to the recoil reduction in volume from the reconstruction demand lasted until the same period a year earlier. Following Thailand are Taiwan at the No.6 spot with a 21.5% jump in exports to 1,075,000 tons, Hong Kong, which moved to the No.7 spot after it switched places with Taiwan, with a 3.1% increase to 988,000 tons and Vietnam at No.8, similar to its position last year, with an 8.2% surge to 620,000 tons. Occupying the ninth spot is Latin America, manifesting a rise in ranking from last year's No. 11 spot. It is believed that Latin America's climb to the top was fueled by the transport of equipment and other cargoes to Mexico. Indonesia, which occupied the ninth spot last year, dropped to the 10th place despite its 15% year-on-year surge in exports to 484,000 tons.

On the import side, the growth rate weakened owing in part to the progressing state of low yen, but the total import volume still managed to post the fifth consecutive terms of increase on a half-year basis since the latter half of fiscal 2010. At the top spot are ex-China imports with a 2% rise to 16,316,000 tons, down from the 11.1% surge recorded in the same period in 2012. Hong Kong stood at the No.2 spot with 2,474,000 tons, down 6%. The combined shipments from China and Hong Kong remained virtually unchanged from the previous year with a 0.9% increase to 18.79 million tons.

Ex-Europe cargoes occupy the third spot with a double-digit rise of 21.4% to 2,269,000 tons, manifesting a recoil increase from last year's 4.2% decline. At the fourth place is the U.S., which held the fifth place last year, with an 8.2% growth in shipments to 1,773,000 tons. Vietnam, which was at the No.7 position last year, broke into the fifth spot with handlings of 1,639,000 tons, up 33.4% from a year earlier. Thailand was at sixth place with a 4.6% drop to 1,572,000 tons, while South Korea was at the seventh spot with a 6.7% decline to 1,416,000 tons, with both countries enjoying a rise in their rankings from last year's No. 4 and No. 6 positions, respectively. Countries occupying the No. 8 to No. 10 spots remained the same from a year earlier - Taiwan (down 2.4% to 895,000 tons), Indonesia (down 13.5% to 620,000) and Malaysia (up 10.1% to 445,000 tons). In terms of growth rate, Africa enjoyed a significant jump in shipments at 52.9%, but its total throughput was quite small at 43,000 tons.

Now the above figures were compiled based on the tally of the statistics given by 414 valid respondent companies from JIFFA's regular members who submitted their answers to the questionnaire sent by the organization. The fluctuations in the number of respondent members were not included in the figures. Further, offshore transport outside of those to/from Japan and co-loaded consolidated cargoes for other companies were not taken into account in the tally.

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