With a score of 45.4, the December, 2014 edition of logistics research firm Transport Intelligence’s Stifel Logistics Confidence Index has recorded its lowest ever total, amidst a continued pattern of decline.
Of the four trade lanes covered by the index, Europe to US continues to be the most positive, representing the highest-scoring route across air and sea, as well as current and expected situation, with continued strength of the US dollar against the Euro helping to boost performance.
By contrast, the performance of trade lanes between Europe and Asia, in both directions, continues to be poor.
Steps are currently being taken to deal with overcapacity on the world’s shipping routes, following news of Maersk committing to lay-up an 18,000 TEU vessel last month.
The index for sea freight has declined by 1.8 points to 44.3. Compared with the same month in 2014, the Index is 14.7 points lower, and it is also 14.3 points lower than in December, 2013.
All lanes noted declines in December, 2013, though Europe to US lost only 0.8 points, and therefore remained in a stronger position than the others at 55.0.
Having declined by 4.7 points from November, Europe to Asia was the weakest of the lanes, and recorded a total of 32.9. Asia to Europe noted an even greater decline of 5 points, and stood at 36.1.
US to Europe recorded a moderate loss of 2.6 points, which brought it to 40.4 overall.
The expected situation Index for sea freight was more positive than the present situation, with mixed results aggregating to a 0.2 point decline.
In a two-question survey, Stifel asked respondents whether or not they believed that other shipping lines would take similar action to remove capacity from the market.
71% of respondents answered yes, versus 18% responding no, and 11% stating that they were unsure.
Of those answering expecting to see the removal of capacity from the market, 86% expected its removal for more than 4 weeks, covering much of the year’s peak season. This compared with 10% expecting it to last between 3 and 4 weeks, and 4% believing it would last less than 3 weeks.
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