Major US container ports saw an increase at volumes in November because retailers imported merchandise ahead of the new tariffs that will come into force in December, following US President Trump’s announcement that a deal between China and US will be achieved after finalize a new round of tariffs on consumer goods on December 15.
According to the Global Port Tracker report launched National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, the holiday products are already in the US, meaning that they won’t be affected by the tariffs until the season is over.
Yet, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold stated that tariffs still pose a great risk both to consumers and to business confidence; He hopes that December tariffs will be either cancelled or postponed.
We need a deal with China as soon as possible so we can bring an end to the trade war that has put a drag on the U.S. economy for far too long
… added Mr Gold.
Although in October President Trump agreed on a partial trade deal with China in October, a new round of tarrifs on consumer goods is still scheduled to come into force on December 15.
Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett stated that
Even though growth has slowed, low unemployment and higher wages have helped bolster purchases and, thereby, imports for consumer goods.
According to Global Port Tracker, US ports handled about 1.88 million TEUs in October, marking a 0.6% increase from September, but a 7.5% decline from the all-time monthly record of 2 million TEU in October 2018.
Additionally, November increased to about 1.95 million TEU, increasing by 8% year-on-year, as retailers frontloaded imports ahead of this month’s scheduled tariffs.
According to projections, December number is down 8.9% from high numbers seen a year ago during a similar pattern of bringing in merchandise ahead of new tariffs.
The first half of 2019, US ports totaled 10.5 million TEU, up 2.1% over the first half of 2018, and 2019 is expected to see a new annual record of 21.9 million TEU.
The report estimates that January 2020 will be at 1.87 million TEU, down to 1.2% from January 2019. Additionally, February – that is commented to be the slowest month of the year due to the Lunar Year Factory shutdowns in Asia – is forecast at 1.62 million TEU, down 0.3 percent from a year ago.
March is forecast at 1.76 million TEU, up an unusually high 9.2% because of fluctuations in the Lunar New Year calendar, while April is forecast at 1.84 million TEU, up 5.6% year-over-year.
Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Port of Virginia, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Jacksonville on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.