Can we finally admit that chasing the "Atlantic Gateway" dream maybe isn't such a hot idea?
The Port of Halifax has experienced a decline in cargo volumes in the first half of the year. Overall total TEU’s year-over-year have decreased -16.3% for the first six months. Several factors are at play:
The 2007 loss of two weekly services is fully reflected in the first half of the year; The high Canadian dollar relative to other currencies;The weakening US economy has impacted both export and import cargo volumes through the Port of Halifax;The high cost of bunker fuel and the effect on overseas sourcing. In 2003 the average cost of bunker fuel was $152 (USD) a tonne – today bunker fuel is $635 (USD) a tonne - this has had a direct effect on freight rates.Continued consolidation of international shipping linesThe decrease in containerized cargo is not a problem unique to the Port of Halifax – ports all over North America are facing downturns. June 2008 just ended and Asian imports are forecasted to be down 7.1% in comparison with June 2007 at North American ports due to softened import demand. The down turn in the US economy is affecting people’s spending and buying patterns:
Furniture and home appliances (includes electronics, toasters, washers, driers etc.) are down -21%Apparel is down - 6.9%Footwear – Flat – no growthThe USA’s import activity is suffering from the devaluation of the dollar, the housing crisis and inflation.