A recently published report shows that exports and imports of freight through European ports increased in May compared with the previous month, but declined from volumes recorded in March. Overall, import and export container growth at deepsea ports has been weakening, and is expected to get worse.
Consumer confidence is being eroded by the debt crisis in Greece and the prospect Italy and Spain defaulting, said one consultant.
The report predicts imports and exports of freight will increase more than 9%, year on year in 2011. This would be below the 12.6% gain reported last year, and the analysts expect this forecast to be even lower this month due to a slow down in exports from Asia. Assuming that there are no further repercussions from the Greek crisis, European imports are expected to grow at 7% or less, with exports at 8%.
The year could be as difficult as 2009.