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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        17  June  2011

Shipper hit by trade drop

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Denmark's Maersk Line, the world's largest container shipper, has downgraded its business performance outlook this year, citing impacts from the Japanese disaster and lingering economic uncertainties in the US and Europe.

Bangkok’s Klong Toey port has been busy lately, mainly because of congestion caused by the months-long shutdown of two wharves for maintenance. Maersk Line (Thailand) had a good first quarter but sees activity slowing over the rest of the year.

The updated outlook for 2011 is based on the performance seen in the first four months after the company reported a big turnaround last year, said Thomas Lindy Sorensen, the managing director of Maersk Line (Thailand).

"The performance was very good in the first quarter, but now the supply and demand [for containers] are not in the same situation because of what's happening in North America and Europe," he said.

While the market outlook does not seem healthy, new ships continue to arrive in the market each year, he said.

Japan's devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis affected imports of components into Thailand for final assembly and re-export. Automobile manufacturers in Thailand sharply cut back their production in April and May due to parts shortages.

Automotive products are among four key sectors handled by Maersk in Thailand along with electronics, commodities and petrochemicals, he said.

While Maersk (Thailand) posted 10 percent growth in shipment volume in line with the overall industry, the company now projects a 7 percent rise in exports and a 10 percent increase in imports this year, said Mr Sorensen.

In 2010, the shipping line handled 270,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of outbound shipments and 100,000 TEUs of inbound shipments.

"In terms of volume it will certainly grow, but revenue may be the same as last year," Sorensen said.






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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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