Imports via containerised cargo fell 2.2% in January-March

  • 10-Jun-2019
  • Imports via containerised cargo fell 2.2% in January-March

India's imports through containerised cargo witnessed a 2.2% fall in the first quarter (January-March) of 2019 as against a 6% increase in exports during the same period.

This degrowth in imports is primarily attributed to a decline in certain products like waste paper, paperboard and plastic imports.

"The waste paper, paperboard and plastic imports saw a decline, as the Indian government early this year levied additional duties. Concurrently, China restarted importing low-quality papers like craft paper and boards in the first quarter, resulting in a lower supply to India," said Steve Felder, managing director, Maersk South Asia.

A P Moller - Maersk is among the global leader in shipping services and operates in 130 countries.

Maersk in its Q1 2019 report on export-import (Exim) trade through shipping lines also added that India has also announced a ban on the import of solid plastic waste, including in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Oriented Units (EOUs) with a view to close the gap between waste generation and recycling capacity of the country and safeguarding the impact on the environment and domestic paper industry.

The import demand was buoyed by pharmaceuticals, metal, appliances and kitchenware, paper, chemicals and fruit and nuts, mainly from Northern Europe, South Asia, China and Russia.

On the export front, the stable growth during the quarter was propelled by robust performances in refrigerated cargo, engineering and pharmaceuticals sectors.

Exports were driven largely by the eastern and western regions, which contributed double-digit growth, with commodities including plastic, rubber, textile, vehicles and vegetables as key drivers.

Overall, India's container Exim trade grew 3% in Q1 as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. The major contributors were northern and western parts that drove the trade with European and Mediterranean region. Meanwhile, the country's eastern region saw the highest growth in exports to the USA at 17%.

According to Felder, going forward, "Global trade is expected to continue to face strong headwinds in 2019 and 2020 after growing slower than expected in 2018 due to rising trade tensions and increased economic uncertainty as per the World Trade Organisation report. The other reasons for consequence include the new tariffs and retaliatory measures affecting widely-traded goods, weaker global growth and tighter monetary conditions in developed countries."

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