Nittsu Research Institute and Consulting, Inc. (NRIC) recently unveiled a revision of its economic and cargo transport forecasts for fiscal 2020 (April 2020-March 2021). As the COVID-19 pandemic is escalating, the think tank now foresees that exports of loaded containers from eight major ports in Japan will suffer a double-digit decrease in the first half, plunging 11.3% year on year to 2.22 million TEUs. In the second half, they are projected to improve, only decreasing a mild 1.8% to total 2.38 million TEUs. On a yearly scale, they are expected to amount to 4.6 million TEUs, down 6.6%. These figures are anticipated on assumption that Japan will register a real economic growth rate of minus 5.6% this fiscal year, and that the coronavirus pandemic will stop escalating in July-September. If there is a major second wave in the second half, however, NRIC indicated that export figures would even be poorer.

As for imports to Japan of oceangoing containers, the research institute forecasts that they will fall 4.8% to 6.963 million TEUs in fiscal 2020 due to sluggishness in parts and components for production, other parts and components, and machinery.

In respect to airborne shipments, NRIC envisages that exports to other Asian economies, the main export route of those from Japan, would head for recovery if the COVID-19 pandemic subsides soon. In contrast, those on the trans-Pacific and Europe route are both foreseen to incur notable decreases of 20%. On a full-year basis, exports of air freight from Japan are expected to decline 9% to 937,700 tons. Meanwhile, imports are estimated to shrink 7.2% to 1,218,500 tons for an annual total of 2,156,200 tons, down 8%.




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