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Japan Freight Transport Better-than Expected Forecast for 2010

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Japan-based airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) expanded its regional freight operations by adding new flights to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan from October 31 2010. Increased demand on these routes and reduced competition from the country’s largest air carrier Japan Airlines (JAL), which amid bankruptcy proceedings shifted its operations away from the cargo market, prompted ANA to add freighters. The airline will increase services on the Tokyo Narita-Shanghai Pudong route from four to six a week. Flights between Narita and Taipei will also increase from three to six, while the airline will expand flights from three to four between Narita and Hong Kong.

According to ANA, the company’s better-than expected forecast for 2010 lies in a lesser exposure to Western markets compared with many of its rivals, coupled with a strong focus on Asian markets. In particular, the company is banking on strong Chinese growth to boost long-term revenues. The head of ANA Cargo, Kiyoshi Tonomoto, as cited by Bloomberg, forecast intra-Asian sales to double to JPY200bn (US$2.3bn) in the next few years due to an increase in Chinese consumer demand for cars and other high-end goods.

The macro environment facing Japan’s freight industry remained challenging as the country entered the fourth quarter of 2010. After over a year in office, the new administration of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) had failed to make significant headway to reform the Japanese political and economic system, and was immersed in internal leadership struggles. The stagnant economy continued to be a major source of concern. BMI also continued to see a poor investment outlook, muted consumer spending and a downturn in exports, as Chinese and US demand was expected to falter. After falling by 5.8% in the recession year of 2009, BMI estimates that Japanese GDP will grow by 1.9% in 2010, but will dip down below 1% in 2011.

After 2009’s very steep falls in volumes, the airfreight sector is now enjoying a recovery, despite the repercussions of Japan Airline’s bankruptcy and ongoing restructuring. BMI forecasts that cargo volume will rise by 2.5% this year to 2.01mn tonnes, a small improvement after 2009’s 10.6% slump, but nevertheless a move in the right direction. Airfreight carried (volume x distance) will rise a little more strongly, up by 4.8% to 5.81bn tonnes-km (bntkm).

Japan’s highly-developed roads can be heavily congested at certain points and as in many mature economies, road haulage growth is limited. We have nevertheless raised our forecast for this year with road freight volume expected to be up by 1.9% to 4.41bn tonnes, following 2009’s recession-driven 8.3% contraction. Traffic will gain 1.9% to 337.40bntkm.

After collapsing by almost one-fifth (-18.7%) during the recession, railfreight will have a standstill year in 2010, with marginal growth of 0.3% to 37.73mn tonnes. The emphasis remains on passenger travel as the number one priority, so freight capacity remains limited.

At the Port of Yokohama (POY) we are estimating 5.7% growth in total tonnage this year to 122.093mn tonnes, representing a partial recovery after the very steep slump in 2009, when tonnage fell by 18.50%. However, growth will ease back again as the economy cools once more in 2011. Also at POY containers handled this year will grow by 8.9% to 3.045mn TEUs, following a 19.6% contraction in 2009. At the Port of Tokyo (POT) in 2010, we see total tonnage gaining by 7.0% to 91.19mn tonnes, a slightly stronger but still only partial recovery from 2009’s drop of 10.6%. Boxes handled at POT will rise by 5.2% this year to 3.94mn 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), winning back just over half the volume lost in 2009, when business dropped by 9.4%.

In real terms, Japan’s foreign trade (imports plus exports) slumped by 21% during the global recession in 2009. BMI is predicting an 8.1% recovery this year, followed by lower growth of 4.8% in 2011, as we enter potential global ‘double dip’ territory.

Report Table of Contents:

Executive Summary

SWOT Analysis

– South Korea Freight Transport SWOT

– Japan Political SWOT

– Japan Economic SWOT

Business Environment Ratings

– Table: Asia Pacific Freight Business Environment Ratings

– Freight Industry Ranking

Industry Trends and Developments

– Multimodal/Logistics

– Air

– Maritime

Industry Forecast

– Macro

– Air

– Table: Air Freight, 2007-2014

– Road

– Table: Road Freight, 2007-2014

– Rail

– Table: Rail Freight, 2007-2014

– Maritime

– Table: Maritime Freight, 2007-2014

– Container Throughput

– Trade

– Table: Trade Overview, 2007-2014

– Table: Key Trade Indicators, 2007-2014

– Table: Main Import Partners, 2002-2008

– Table: Main Export Partners, 2002-2008

Market Overview

– Multi-Modal

– Road

– Infrastructure

– Rail

– Infrastructure

– Air

– Infrastructure

– Maritime

– Infrastructure

Company Profiles

– Japan Post

– Central Japan Railway (JR Tokai)

– Japan Airlines Corporation (JAL)

– Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK)

Country Snapshot: South Korea Demographic Data

– Section 1: Population

– Table: Demographic Indicators, 2005-2030

– Table: Rural/Urban Breakdown, 2005-2030

– Section 2: Education And Healthcare

– Table: Education, 2002-2005

– Table: Vital Statistics, 2005-2030

– Section 3: Labour Market And Spending Power

– Table: Employment Indicators, 2001-2006

– Table: Consumer Expenditure, 2000-2012 (US$)

– Table: Average Annual Wages, 2000-2012

BMI Methodology

– How We Generate Our Industry Forecasts

– Transport Industry

– Sources

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