2014-01-22 22:23:20 - New Transportation research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research
GDP To Grow For The First Time In Six Years
At long last, after six years of recession, there are some positive signs in the Greek economy. They have to be put into context, however. In 2013 economic activity levels continued to shrink, but the good news was that they did so at a slower rate than in previous years. And in the second half of 2013 there were signs of improving sentiment. The European Commission (EC)'s economic sentiment indicator, which remained at record lows in 2012, began what looked like a sustained process of improvement in 2013. BMI believes this has been an early portent of a change in the real economy in 2014, which will be helped by improving
eurozone demand. We forecast a return to GDP growth in 2014, with a modest +1.1% expansion rate. We believe GDP will accelerate to 1.8% in 2015. The most important feature of our forecast is the simple fact that the economy will grow for the first time in years, but we expect the recovery to be fragile. Given the very high levels of unemployment, the improvement in household consumption will be limited. Without a recovery in foreign demand for Greek exports, or an inflow of European foreign direct investment, the sustainability of the domestic economic recovery is not guaranteed.
Full Report Details at
- www.fastmr.com/prod/760698_greece_freight_transport_report_2014. ..
Looking at specific transport modes, the main feature of 2014 will be the return of many transport modes to positive growth. Road and rail freight tonnage will grow in a range of 2-4%, with the port of Piraeus achieving expansion of almost 8%, boosted by transit freight demand and recent investments in increasing capacity. The return of foreign trade growth in 2013 and 2014 after four years of contractions is also a positive factor.
Headline Industry Data
* Air freight cargo set to get back in positive territory, with growth of 2.0% to 68,900 tonnes in 2014, after estimated 3.6% contraction in 2013.
* 2014 will see respectively moderate and strong growth in tonnage throughput at the country's two main ports: Thessaloniki (up 1.8% to 12.399mn tonnes) and Piraeus (up 7.8% to 16.685mn tonnes).
* Rail freight volume set to grow 3.9% to almost 2.3mn tonnes in 2014, after a 2.5% contraction in 2013.
* Road haulage will be up by 2.6% to 367.01mn tonnes.
* The real value of Greek trade (imports plus exports) will grow by 2.9% in 2014, following 2.6% growth in 2013.
Key Industry Trends
Government Looking For Further Chinese Investment In Piraeus: Hong Kong shipping services provider COSCO Pacific is reportedly in advanced negotiations with the Greek authorities to build a fourth pier at the port, representing an investment worth around US$297mn. Current annual capacity is 2.6mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). The fourth pier would boost annual container capacity to 6.2mn TEUs, creating 400 new jobs, according to media reports. Meanwhile, the government was said to be considering the possibility of selling a majority stake in the Port of Piraeus Authority (PPA), as a way of attracting new foreign investment into the sector. This approach is reportedly not favoured by PPA chief executive George Anomeritis, who prefers the granting of further concessions. Greek officials are hopeful the expansion of the COSCO Pacific operation in Piraeus may lead to further investments, including developing of a major logistics centre inland and perhaps a manufacturing park as the cash-strapped country cements its role as a major European distribution gateway for China.
Raiulway Privatisation Back On Track: After almost a year of stops, starts, and conflicting reports, plans to privatise the Greek rail system appeared to be moving forward. At the end of October 2013 the country's privatisation fund said that it had qualified three bids for state-owned rail operator TrainOSE to go forward for the final stages of the divestment process. These were a joint venture of Russian Railways (RZD) and Greek property and energy group Gek Terna; France's SNCF's subsidiary SNCF Participations; and Romanian open-access operator Grup Ferroviar Roman (GFR). A further three bidders had qualified to go forward in the divestment of Rosco, the rail maintenance and spare parts unit, also state owned. These were the RZD/Gek Terna joint venture, Siemens, and a partnership between Alstom and Damco Energy, Greece.
Road Link To Bulgaria Opened:TheMakaza Pass border crossing on the frontier between Greece and Bulgaria was opened in September 2013, for the first time since 1944. The reopening of the Makaza border check point, approximately 20 kilometres north of Greece's Aegean coastline, was expected to alleviate traffic at the other border crossing points between Greece and Bulgariaa and boost development of border regions. Only vehicles weighting less than 3.5 tonnes can use the crossing. When it becomes fully operational, the Ruse-Makaza Pass road will provide the shortest route from Romania's capital, Bucharest (and much of Central and Eastern Europe, for that matter), to the Aegean/Mediterranean.
Key Risks To Outlook
Upside and downside risks to our forecasts for the Greek economy, and the likely knock-on effects for the ports and shipping sector, remain fairly evenly balanced. To take the upside first, the Greek economy has taken such punishment in recent years that a small positive stimulus can have a greater than usual 'multiplier' effect. The economy has already shrunk by nearly 20% since 2007, and unemployment is edging up towards 30%. This means the whole economy is operating from a much lower base, and can respond in a proportionately greater way to a small improvement, for example in export demand.
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