Ports braced for continued economic woes

Hong Kong: Port bosses in China are admitting this year is set to be a tough one. "The global economic situation will remain complicated and challenging, and economic difficulties may continue to exist for a while," said Hui Kai, Dalian Port chairman at a press conference held in Hong Kong on Monday. "The mainland's economy will record a slow but stable growth trend, but there will still be uncertainties as to when the mainland economy will recover."

Hui, who was not so optimistic about the company's business in the second half of 2012, said, "The Baltic Dry Index and coal prices in Bohai rim area will continue to fall, and there will be huge overstock of coal. Ore inventories in coastal ports will be hard to absorb."

Another port boss has similar views. "It would be more difficult [for the sector] in the second half of the year than in the first half," said Chang Dechuan, chairman of the board of Qingdao Port (Group) Co., Ltd, on Saturday.

"Port and shipping enterprises need to be well prepared as the global economic downturn will hit imports and exports in the next two to three years, and the situation is compounded by uncertainties in domestic economy," Chang said while attending an enterprise forum in Changchun, capital of northeastern province of Jilin.  [04/09/12]

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