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Asian container exports to the West will take up to five years to recover after last year’s market plunge, but a boom in traffic between China and Southeast Asia will help offset losses, according to the Manila Bulletin, citing a Reuters article.

The report quoted the managing director of Pacific International Lines (PIL) – a privately held company — SS Teo saying that container market’s recovery would be fueled by China’s red-hot demand for semi-finished products and raw materials from other Asian countries.

The box shipping industry, led by larger rivals A.P. Moller-Maersk  and China COSCO Holdings , continues to recover from depressed levels in 2009 when the industry slashed capacity in response to the global downturn.

Analysts estimate the industry, which is closely linked to global economic growth, lost as much as $15 billion last year as container traffic tumbled by nearly 10%.

”The Asia-Europe and Asia-US markets will take two to five years to return to pre-crisis levels,” said Teo, who is also the president of the Singapore Shipping Association and a member of parliament.

”But I’m not that pessimistic because the shortfall will be made up by the intra-Asia volume.”

PIL, ranked in the top 20 of the world’s container ship companies, plans to add six new vessels by the end of 2012 to its fleet of 133 ships.

The family-run firm, which says its annual turnover is around SGD$3.8 billion (NZD$3.91 billion), is not interested in putting itself on the market or going public. – Source: Manila Bulletin

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