Port throughput growth in China hit a 10-year low in November, a report from the Ministry of Transport said. China's port throughput was 460 million tons in November, up 0.5 percent from the previous year - the slowest growth in a decade.
According to the report, 10 million containers moved across the docks in China in November, a 4-percent decline from October. Though the volume of containers moved in November increased 6 percent compared to the previous year, the increase rate dropped 6.7 percentage points from the same period of last year.
Meanwhile, the report said that only 30 million tons of iron ore moved through Chinese ports in November, 9 million tons less than that of October and down 20.7 percent year-on-year. Furthermore, the amount of coal moved through Chinese ports also fell to 34 million tons, a 13.2 percent decline from a year ago.
The negative growth in China's imports and exports in November particularly hurt the country's port throughput, said Zhou Zhanhai from Sinolink Securities, a leading securities house in China.
China's trade volume in November dropped 9 percent year-on-year to 189.8 billion yuan ($27.71 billion). The growth rate of China's exports dropped sharply in November, resulting in the growth rate of container traffic at Chinese ports sliding into single digits, Zhou said.
China's container shipping growth rate could drop to 5-7 percent in 2009 as the country's export growth rate slumps further to 3 percent, Zhou added.
A research report from Sinolink Securities predicted that China will import about 400 million tons of iron ore in 2009. Therefore, the amount of iron ore moved through Chinese ports will fall 5-7 percentage points in 2009, hurting the ports that transport mainly iron ore, the report said.