Worldwide shipping across all transport modes will grow by 8.5 percent, reflecting a continued recovery in global trade and commerce, according to a forecast released April 27 by consultancy IHS Global Insight.
The firm also projected total world trade to grow 7.8 percent in 2011.
Trans-Pacific eastbound volumes from Asia to North America are expected to grow 10 percent in 2010 after a weak 2009, the firm said. Westbound traffic is expected to improve after two years of decline, though the firm didn't disclose projected percentages.
It may take longer for trans-Atlantic volumes to return to previous peaks, according to the firm's projections. Trade from North America to Europe is not expected to return to pre-recession levels until 2013, while westbound volumes won't return to 2007 levels until 2015, IHS Global Insight said.
Carriers are responding to an upturn in cargo volumes by increasing capacity, the firm said. For example, the number of idled containerships in March stood at 9.1 percent of the global container fleet, the lowest level since July 2009.