2013-03-23 08:19:37 - New Transportation market report from Business Monitor International: "Pakistan Shipping Report Q2 2013"
With the usual provisos about a volatile political and security situation, our economic outlook for Pakistan is relatively upbeat. We note that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has been easing its monetary policy stance, money supply growth has consequently accelerated, private credit is expanding, and net direct foreign investment has improved. The energy crisis has eased back a little and manufacturing output has been growing. The sluggishness of the European economies is still casting a shadow over Pakistani exports, but there are some signs of resilience. Taking all this into account, we continue to expect GDP growth of 4% in fiscal year 2012/13 (July to June), which would mark the strongest growth in six years, albeit nowhere near the
mid-to-high single-digit growth rates achieved prior to the 2008 global economic crisis. For 2013/14 we are forecasting the same 4% level of expansion.
Looking at the port sector, we expect volume growth to be positive, but with some fairly wide variations. The crisis in the eurozone, Pakistan's most important trading partner, remains a key factor. BMI calculates that the real value of total trade (imports + exports) fell by 1.7% in 2011/12, but is set to recover by 3.5% in 2012/13, and will grow further by 3.9% in 2013/14. We think regional demand from neighbouring countries using Pakistani ports as a gateway will provide a little upside potential, but in our view this will not yet be significant.
Full Report Details at
Headline Industry Data
* 2012/13 tonnage throughput at the Port of Karachi is forecast by BMI to grow by 7.3% to 40.651mn tonnes; growth to slow to 1.6% in 2013/14.
* 2012/13 container throughput growth at the Port of Karachi forecast to increase by 2.2% to 1.531mn 20- foot equivalent units (TEUs); growth in 2013/14 to rise slightly to 2.4%.
* 2012/13 tonnage throughput at the Port of Muhammad Bin Qasim forecast to grow by 5.2% to 25.277mn tonnes; growth in 2013/14 to ease to 3.0%.
* 2012/13 container throughput at the Port of Muhammad Bin Qasim forecast to grow by 4.2% to 762,744TEUs; growth in 2013/14 to rise to 5.4%.
* Pakistan's total trade forecast to see real growth of 3.5% in 2012/13, rising to 3.9% in 2013/14.
Key Industry Trends
Truckers' Anger Causes Trouble At Ports
A new militancy among Pakistan's estimated 40,000 truck drivers has had an impact on freight transport in general and on the country's main port at Karachi in particular. In December 2012 the truck drivers went on strike over a range of issues, including road safety, protection from extortionists, and disagreements with the National Highways and Motorway Police (NHMP) over the treatment of overloaded vehicles. After a costly 11 days of stoppage which brought cargo movements to a virtual standstill across the country, the government was able to broker a solution. But trouble flared again at Karachi port in early February 2013, as truckers complained they were being subject to fraudulent loading and unloading charges, as well as being victims of vehicle and cargo theft.
Pakistani Fruit Exporters Hit By High Reefer Rates
Maersk Line has led other shippers by announcing a US$1,500 rate hike on forty-foot refrigerated containers (reefers) out of Pakistan, to the anger of local fruit exporters. Exporters of the kinnow fruit (a US $40mn to US$50mn business in the country) are appealing to the Pakistani government for aid as they feel the impact of the rate rises. Freight from Pakistan to Malaysia has risen to US$3,400 per forty-foot reefer with the US$1,500 increase; freight to Jeddah has risen to US$3,600. CEO of Pakistani fruit-exporting company Harvest Tradings, Ahmad Jawad, said: 'The Ministry of Commerce should grant a subsidy on exports of kinnow after shipping companies are to increase freight charges, keeping in view the abnormal growth in costs. The increase in freight charges will prove another suffering for kinnow exports.'
GEM 1 Service Benefits Pakistan
UAE-based shipping firm the United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) has seen its GEM 1 link begin commercial operations, according to The Express Tribune. The Gem 1 service will connect India, Pakistan, the west Asia Gulf, the Red Sea, Port Said and Turkey. The service will also include relay services to eastern Mediterranean and North African ports. The key benefit for Pakistan is the link to ports in the Middle East and Turkey. The service will encompass eight ships, which boast a combined cargo capacity of 4,250TEUs.
Key Risks to Outlook
Political risk is still the big downside factor to our port and shipping forecasts for Pakistan. General elections are due to be held this year and BMI believes the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), which heads the current coalition administration, faces an uphill struggle for re-election. The state of the economy, violence, poor security and relations with the US are all likely to be seen as PPP weak spots. Like the current administration, the next government will have to balance the country's dependence on financial and military aid from Washington against the risk of rousing the wrath of the population if it appears too accommodating to US demands. In short, any Pakistani administration faces major political challenges, with their associated downside economic risks.
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