CHINA : China's shipping industry remained sluggish in the first half year, affected by moderating economic growth, increasing the risk of bankruptcy for small and medium-sized companies in the sector.
The slower growth of the shipping sector is likely to continue, as market demand remains weak while costs are rising rapidly, said
He Jianzhong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Transport. In the first half, the throughput at major Chinese ports was4.74 billion tons, up 7.2 percent year-on-year, compared with 13.3 percent in the first six months of 2011, according to data released by the ministry.
The throughput of foreign trade goods rose to 1.52 billion tons, with a year-on-year growth rate of 13.6 percent, 5.5 percentage points higher than that in the same period last year, the spokesman said.
The increase of domestic trade goods slowed to 4.4 percent from 15.7 percent in the first half of 2011, reaching a total volume of 3.23 billion tons, the ministry showed.
Falling shipping prices have squeezed companies' profits, driving some to bankruptcy, He said. Besides, the increasing downside risk of China's economic growth has lowered industrial power consumption, which led to a backlog of coal in ports in northern China, according to the Ministry.