Odessa Benefits From Auto Imports Outperformance


BMI View: Car imports via Odessa's roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) terminal offers the Ukrainian port some respite from the slowdown in trade, with the country's maritime sector buffeted by slowing tonnage throughput and declines in container volumes. Automotive imports are forecast to record double-digit growth in 2012 and are outpacing the country's overall projected import growth.

The port of Odessa has handled its eighth car carrier in 2012, with the Sea Amazon unloading 651 vehicles from the Hyundai Motor Company at the port at the end of August 2012. Since its launch the port's ro-ro terminal has handled 5,093 vehicles.

The UAH83mn (US$10mn) terminal can handle ro-ro vessels with a length of 180m and a draught of 9.75m. The terminal area also includes a warehouse capable of storing 1,100 vehicles. When the project was first launched in the summer of 2009 BMI was skeptical of its success, a view which played out, as it wasn't until February 2010 that the terminal actually handled its first ro-ro vessel.

Since then however automotive imports have picked up and the terminal's continued growth in throughput will be a welcome reprieve for Ukraine's port sector, where total throughput growth is slipping and container volumes are in decline.

Vehicle Imports The Outperformer
Ukraine Vehicle Imports, units, % chg y-o-y* and Ukraine Imports, Real Growth, % chg y-o-y

Although still in recovery and with growth in automotive imports projected by BMI to slow in 2012, a projected growth of 12.3% in vehicle imports illustrates automotive imports outpacing Ukraine's import sector, with imports measured in real terms projected to record a year-on-year (y-o-y) increase of just 5% in 2012.

As highlighted Odessa's exposure to the automotive sector offers the facility some respite from the projected decline in other areas at the port. In January-July 2012 total tonnage throughput at Ukraine's ports has slowed, with an increase in growth of just 1.5%. Container volumes at the nation's ports have been drastically hit, declining by 6% in H112.

BMI is forecasting Odessa's total tonnage throughput, although still increasing, to slow down to a growth of 3.5% for the full year of 2012. Container throughput levels at the facility, Ukraine's main box port, are forecast by BMI to decline by 2.8% in 2012.

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