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Although South African container trade remains in negative territory, the second quarter of 2016 proved to be more encouraging than the first, according to the second quarter Maersk Trade Report, which reveals that the market contracted by 5% over the past quarter, as opposed to the 10% decline that was reported in quarter one.

Container trade flows in and out of South Africa for the first half of 2016 showed a year-on-year decline of 7%, which Jonathan Horn, Managing Director of Maersk Line Southern Africa, a member of Maersk Group, attributes to a combination of reduced consumer purchasing and mining commodity demand being under pressure globally.

He explains that the Asian import market in particular was down, which is a sign that the weaker rand and lower consumer confidence has weakened import demand. “Largely related to the lack of available consumer spend, the imports market has been consistently under pressure each month in the first half of 2016, recording an overall drop in demand of 7% (made up of an 8% decline in quarter one, followed by a 6% decline in quarter two), with trade from Asia, South Africa’s largest importing region, dropping steeply by 13%. Other trade lanes, by large, have also slowed down in this respect, with the exception of the Middle East which has seen moderate growth over the past six months.”

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