Global seaborne car trade is tipped to fall 2% this year with car carriers experiencing among the worst growth figures in volumes shipped over the past decade, according to new data from Clarkson Research Services.
The 2% drop this year to 21.7m cars, following two years of 4% growth, was cited by Clarkson as being down to “softening global economic growth and consumer sentiment”. Among the biggest markets to experience a fall in imports has been China this year, where car imports have slumped 8%.
“Overall, seaborne car trade is expected to be only 3% above the 2007 level in 2019, compared for example to growth in the same period of 59% in container trade,” Clarkson noted in its most recent weekly report.
Guideline car carrier charter rates are down by around 3% year-on-year so far in 2019. However, a decline in fleet capacity by 0.3% since the start of 2019 and slower average operating speeds – down by around 2% – helped mitigate the situation.
Concluding on a more positive note, Clarksons noted: “Looking ahead, the supply side seems supportive; the orderbook is equal to just 3% of the fleet, and speeds could slow further next year.”