US Retailers Ready to Bury Peak Season Hopes, With no Sign of Quick Recovery

May 18, 2020

US retailers are losing hope of any recovery in the autumn, casting serious doubt on the summer peak season in the transpacific arena.

The latest instalment of Global Port Tracker (GPT), which is published on a monthly basis by the National Retail Federation (NRF) in collaboration with international trade consultancy Hackett Associates, predicts US imports to shrink in double digits from May through August, and for September it projects a 9.3% contraction.

The GPT forecast is for a 20.4% drop in imports for May, followed by declines of 18.6% in June, 19.3% in July and 12% in August.

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Source: The Load Star

Ports of Tacoma And Seattle See 23.5% Volume Drop

May 18, 2020

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) handled 247,675 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in April, a 23.5% year-over-year decline in total container volume.

“The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the global supply chain,” NWSA CEO John Wolfe said during a press conference Monday.

Empty containers moved plunged 38.3% year-over-year, from 276,731 TEUs in April 2019 to 170,622 TEUs this year. Full exports declined 17.6% year-over-year in April and full imports decreased 13.9%.

“During the first four months of 2020, we handled 1,036,556 TEUs. As a result, the total cargo volume is down 17.5% over last year through April,” Wolfe said.

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Source: American Shipper

China-Europe Rail Freight Services Buck Falling Volumes Trend

May 14, 2020

China-Europe rail freight is bucking the pandemic-wide trend of falling air and ocean volumes, boasting double-digit growth this year.

According to China Railway Group, 2,920 trains ran between January and April, carrying 262,000 teu, up 24% year on year. Last month alone, westbound volumes were up 58% and eastbound 29%, totalling 88,000 teu.

Duisport reported its weekly China trains for April had increased from the “normal” 35-40, to 50, following the end of the lockdowns in China.

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Source: The Load Star

China Waives Retaliatory Tariffs on 79 US Import Categories

May 13, 2020

The announcement to waive tariffs on 79 categories comes as China’s imports from the U.S. fell by nearly 26% in April, casting doubt about the country’s ability to meet its purchasing requirements under the Phase One trade deal.

To fulfill its end of the bargain, China must purchase $200 billion worth of U.S. commodities, namely agricultural goods, over the course of two years. In December, the Chinese government announced tariff waivers on some imports of U.S. soybeans and pork. However, with the global economy fast approaching a recession, or even a depression, that purchasing target remains far away.

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Source: Supply Chain Dive

Maersk Plans for 140 Blank Sailings, up to 25% Volume Drop in Second Quarter

May 13, 2020

Maersk expects to cancel 140 sailings in the second quarter after issuing 90 blank sailings (a 3.5% drop in capacity) earlier this year, the carrier said in its first-quarter report released Wednesday.

The void trips are a way for the carrier to cut costs as demand for ocean freight falls due to lockdown measures stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Maersk expects demand to fall 20% to 25% in the second quarter across all its businesses, it said in the report. The company had been forecasting a 1% to 3% increase in demand for ocean freight in 2020.

The size of the company’s global container fleet has grown to 23.3 million as of the end of the first quarter. The idle fleet grew to 9.4% (2.2 million TEUs) in the first quarter, which Maersk said was the “highest record in more than 10 years.”

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Source: Supply Chain Dive