Retail Imports Settling Down After Year of Tariff Surges

January 15, 2020

After a year of fluctuations driven by the uncertainty of the trade war with China, volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to return to its usual seasonal patterns during the first few months of 2020, according to the Global Port Tracker report released on Jan. 10 by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“We’ll be more confident after we see the Phase One agreement signed, but right now 2020 looks like it should be back to what used to be normal,” NRF vice president for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said

. “We’ve been through a cycle of imports surging ahead of expected tariff increases – some of which got delayed, reduced or canceled – and falling off again afterward. That’s not good for retailers trying to manage their inventory levels or trying to make long-term business plans. And tariffs are never good for consumers, businesses or the economy.”

“It is not surprising that even the Federal Reserve suggests that the impact of the trade war has a negative impact on the U.S. economy,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said, citing recent government data on declines in industrial production and increases in inventory-to-sales ratios. “This combination of reduced output counterbalanced by increased inventory underlies the uncertainties of the tariff wars.”

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Source: MH&L News

Judge Extends Restraining Order Keeping California from Enforcing AB5 in Trucking

January 15, 2020

Trucking companies using owner-operators in California can breathe a sigh of relief for now, as a judge has extended a temporary restraining order keeping officials from enforcing the onerous terms of its AB5 independent contractor law against motor carriers.

A Jan. 13 hearing on the California Trucking Association’s motion for a preliminary injunction in its legal case against the state’s controversial Assembly Bill 5 was “spirited,” according to one attendee.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez heard arguments under advisement but did not issue a decision. He has extended the temporary restraining order that was put in place Dec. 31, and it will be in effect until his ruling on the preliminary injunction. This could take days or a couple of weeks, according to a California Trucking Associations spokesperson.

Until a decision is delivered, the California Trucking Association has said it is not commenting on the case.

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Source: HDT Trucking Info

American Firms Paid $42 Billion in Tariffs, and That Could Go Higher in 2020

January 15, 2020

American trade policy will likely result in more tariffs in 2020.

President Trump’s tariffs have cost American companies $42 billion to date, and that figure could rise higher when new tariffs are put in place. And that’s not a question of if, but when.

Already, there have been talks about U.S. retaliatory action over digital services tax imposed by France and Italy on American tech giants. As of now, U.S. firms mostly have felt the effect of tariffs stemming from the trade dispute with China. A report from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland says the trade war cost American consumers and businesses $42 billion through the end of October.

That’s in contrast to Trump’s claims that American consumers are “paying nothing.” In truth, “U.S. tariffs continue to be almost entirely borne by U.S. firms and consumers,” a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research said.

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Source: Sourcing Journal

Trends to Expect in Logistics in 2020

January 15, 2020

U.S. consumers will get 8.6 billion packages delivered domestically this year, according to projections from SJ Consulting Group. As e-commerce growth continues with no signs of tapering off, the profound dependency on logistics and industry developments to support this boom is all the more apparent. In the months to come, we can expect to see certain trends in the logistics sector that are a byproduct of this new normal, or potentially a negative side effect.

Increased Visibility
As retailers focus on improving the post-sale experience as a tactic to drive loyalty and gain market share, they will continue to invest in better tracking systems to give consumers up-to-the-minute visibility into the location of their packages. UPS already offers a “Follow My Delivery” feature for UPS My Choice customers, with which you can see the truck carrying your package on a live map with updates every few minutes. This type of tracking will continue to become the norm, with carriers investing in advanced GPS technology so all parties will be able to see exactly where a package is en route to the final delivery location…

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Source: MH&L News 

Container Lines Boost Blank Voyages as Q1 Downturn Looms

January 8, 2020

The downturn in U.S.-China trade is forcing ocean carriers to cancel a growing number of weekly sailings in the trans-Pacific trade lane, according to a container shipping expert. The cancellations point to a longer recovery in trade between the world’s two largest economies and augurs a poor start for U.S. ocean freight demand in 2020.

At least 24 weekly sailings between Asia and the U.S. West Coast have been canceled in the first eight weeks of 2020, as reported by U.K.-based container research firm PR News Service.

Those sailings represent about 198,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in capacity out of commission for the period.

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Source: American Shipper