Lowest cargo volumes already reached in the Baltic Sea Region?
​The new Baltic Port Barometer providing trend information on Baltic Sea port development is published on 3rd September 2009. According to the barometer the lowest cargo volumes have already been reached in the Baltic Sea Region. The business environment is very challenging; most of the ports reported fall in cargo turnover in the first half of 2009.
The vast majority (71%) of the respondents of the Baltic Port Barometer survey believes that the lowest quartile in terms of cargo turnover in their port is either Q1, Q2 or Q3 2009. Q1 2009 was chosen by 38% of the ports. This implies that the lowest cargo volumes have already been reached in the Baltic Sea region (BSR).
Majority of the respondents believe that the peak cargo volumes of the years 2007/2008 will be reached in the BSR already in 2011 or 2012. One fifth of the ports expect recovery to take longer.

Challenging business environment – fall in cargo volumes hit most Baltic ports in H1 2009

The vast majority of the ports (74%) reported either some or strong fall in cargo turnover in the first half of 2009. Some 30% reported on strong fall. Cargo turnover development has been most negative among big-sized Baltic ports. Also the number of ship calls has been decreasing: 38% of the ports reported decline.
Over one third of the ports considered inadequate demand as one of the most important bottlenecks impeding the development and growth of the port. The majority (59%) of the respondents believes that ports handling mainly non-bulk cargo will be the ones to suffer most from the economic downturn and those handling mainly liquid bulk to suffer the least.
Compared to the previous Barometer (2008) larger share of the ports expect the competition to intensify. In the challenging business environment ports have adjusted their business operations to decreased volumes. 35% of the ports indicated improvement of operational efficiency as means used already in 2009. 24% of ports have made personnel cuts and 37% have postponed or reconstructed investment and development plans.

Most ports fairly positive on their future cargo volume and passenger traffic development

Majority (63%) of the respondents expects growth in their cargo handling volumes in 2010. Strong growth is expected by only 8% of the respondents. The average growth estimation for cargo volumes of all the responding ports is +3.1% for the 2010.
The forecast for the development of container volumes is the most positive one: 66% expect increase in the volumes and only 9% fall. Some 51% expect growth in other dry cargo volumes, 45% in liquid bulk volumes and 41% in dry bulk volumes.
The views of the ports of a different size vary slightly. The expectations of the big and the middle- sized ports are somewhat more positive than those of the small ports.Vast majority (77%) of the passenger ports forecasts some growth in their passenger traffic volumes for the year 2010.

Background of the survey

The Baltic Port Barometer 2009 includes 51 port authority respondents from nine BSR countries. The survey was conducted during June-August 2009. Of the ports that responded 22 handle less than 2 million tonnes of cargo per year, 16 ports 2-10 million tonnes and 13 ports over 10 million tonnes.
Published 7th September 2009