US imports forecast to decline in coming months owing to US-China trade spat
MAJOR container ports in the US have seen a marked slowdown in import volumes after the rush to restock shelves ahead of the imposition of US tariffs on Chinese goods has calmed down.
National Retail Federation (NRF) vice president for supply chain Jonathan Gold explained: “With the holiday season behind us, the immediate pressure to stock up on merchandise has passed but retailers remain concerned about tariffs and their impact on the nation’s economy.”
He continued: “Retailers have also brought in much of their spring merchandise early to protect consumers against higher prices that will eventually come with tariffs. Our industry is hoping the talks currently under way will bring an end to this ill-advised trade war and result in a more appropriate way of responding to China’s trade abuses that won’t force American consumers, workers and businesses to pay the price.”
US ports covered by Global Port Tracker report handled 1.81 million TEU in November, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 2.5 per cent year on year but down 11.4 per cent from the record of 2.04 million TEU set in October, reported World Maritime News, Rotterdam.
December was estimated at 1.79 million TEU, up 3.7 per cent year on year which would bring 2018 to a total of 21.6 million TEU, an increase of 5.3 per cent over 2017’s record 20.5 million TEU.
Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said: “But we are projecting declining volumes in the coming months and an overall weakness in imports for the first half of the year.”