Monday, January 17, 2011

Sea change: Shippers cope with increased Chinese demand for European imports

A fascinating article appeared in the Financial Times yesterday: shipping companies are hard pressed to meet Chinese consumer demand for European automobiles as European demand for Asian imports cools:

Kai Kraass, chief operating officer for Wallenius Wilhelmsen, the largest European-based fleet operator, said that the Chinese surge had for the first time created more demand to shift items from Europe to Asia than the other way round.
“This is a big change for us,” he said.
All the operators said growing China demand was a result of the strong desire among newly wealthy Chinese for cars built in Europe, often in preference to the same companies’ cars built in Chinese factories.
“There are hundreds of millions of people being lifted out of poverty,” Mr Steimler said. “What they want is European-built cars. The market is huge.”
Carl-Johan Hagman, chief executive of Oslo-based Höegh Autoliners, said that European seaborne car exports to China had grown to an expected 500,000 this year, from 20,000 in 2005.
“What has happened with China is absolutely phenomenal,” he said.


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