India’s containerised trade contracted by about 8% in Q3 (July-September), integrated shipping company Maersk said in a report. Container shipments, however, rose 31% from the preceding quarter indicating trade is on a path of recovery, it said.
Exports rose 14%, buoyed by rising demand for Indian textiles and apparels especially in the North American markets, and surged 47% quarter-on-quarter (Q-o-Q). Imports, however, contracted 28% from a year earlier.
“Owing to staggered supply and demand shocks across geographies, combined with challenging economic indicators in Q2 and Q3, Indian containerised trade has been severely impacted,” Maersk said. “Whereas exports have recovered strongly, imports remain subdued,” it added.
“Changing patterns in retail behaviours are reshaping supply chain trends to an extraordinary extent, leading to a growing focus on risk mitigation and resilience-building, while dealing with threats of growing trade protectionism,” said Steve Felder, Managing Director, Maersk South Asia.
Apart from textiles and aparels, other commodities that witnessed growth in exports include tile, stone and glass to the North European region, and seeds, beans, cereal and flour to the Middle East and Mediterranean countries.
In imports into India, commodities such as paper, metal, appliances and kitchenware showed increased volume since the last quarter, though they are far below the levels in the same period last year.
Volumes of appliances and kitchenware coming from China are almost half of what they were last year in the same quarter, but are showing growth of 25% over Q2 2020. Imports of paper from the U.S. show a similar trend, being 40% lower than last year’s third quarter, but with a growth of over 25% from last quarter, this year, it said.
As trade continues to navigate foggy conditions, most recent trends indicate an overall recovery of import-export trade will begin in the first half of 2021, Maersk said.