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US ports to suffer 'double-digit' fall in imports if more tariffs are imposed

THE lastest data from New York consultant Blue Alpha Capital show container throughput at the ten largest US ports fell 3

US ports to suffer 'double-digit' fall in imports if more tariffs are imposed

THE lastest data from New York consultant Blue Alpha Capital show container throughput at the ten largest US ports fell 3

28 July 2019 - 19:00

THE lastest data from New York consultant Blue Alpha Capital show container throughput at the ten largest US ports fell 3.3 per cent in June, year on year, to 1.7 million TEU.

'The impact of tariffs is becoming apparent and, absent any changes, the effect will become more pronounced,' said the consultancy's founder and author of the report, John D McCown.



'The containers arriving in June were loaded in China after the February 25 decision to defer increasing tariff rates, and some were even in the supply chain before the decision on May 5 to increase them to 25 per cent.



'With no scheduled tariff increases when these containers were committed, there was less incentive to front-load shipments and we're beginning to see the impact,' said Mr McCown.



He said he anticipated weaker year-on-year comparisons this month from tariffs and the impact of swollen inventories that continue to be worked down, according to UK's The Loadstar.



Moreover, Mr McCown warned, if threatened additional tariffs are imposed, to cover virtually all Chinese imported goods, the decline would be 'sharply exacerbated' to 'double-digit' percentages.



In response, some US forwarders are suggesting their shipper clients consider sourcing part of their products from other Asian markets.



The decline at US west coast ports saw imports slump 5.5 per cent to 931,463 TEU, while at east coast ports it was much less pronounced, at just 0.5 per cent to 771,070 TEU. This was a consequence of larger ships now deployed on the tradelane following the expansion of the Panama Canal.



East coast container hubs with the strongest growth in June were Norfolk, with 6.3 per cent, and Houston, with an increase of 7.6 per cent.



In the west, Long Beach saw the biggest throughput decline, 13.7 per cent, to 331,617 TEU, although its San Pedro Bay neighbour enjoyed a 3.5 per cent uplift to 396,306 TEU.


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