August U.S. waterborne shipments meet expectations, reports Panjiva

Heading into August, analysts at global trade intelligence firm Panjiva said that the month could set a new record for the number of United States-bound waterborne shipments. That estimate turned out to be accurate based on data the New York City-based firm issued this week.

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Heading into August, analyst at global trade intelligence firm Panjiva said that the month could set a new record for the number of United States-bound waterborne shipments. That estimate turned out to be accurate based on data the New York City-based firm issued this week.

August shipments came in at 1,066,698, which was up 2.1% annually on the way to setting a new monthly record, topping August 1.044 million. August also marked the sixth consecutive month of growth for shipments.

While a new monthly record was set, Panjiva said that the growth rate for the month was at its slowest pace in nearly a year and was most likely due to disruptions in late August from Hurricane Harvey. Panjiva noted that Harvey may have reduced imports by around 6,500 TEU per day, or 0.6% of the month’s total volume.

On a year-to-date basis through August, Panjiva data indicates that total shipments are up 3.6% annually at 7,634,927, with 2017 expected to be up 3.2% at 11,501,087, which is ahead of a previous estimate of a 3.1% gain. This was revised due to August coming in strong.

“Growth in trade is alive and well,” said Panjiva Research Director Chris Rogers. “But shipments from Taiwan and Japan were both down in August because of a mix of products, with both companies serving as large suppliers of consumer electronics. This is not typical as August and September are part of peak season and shipments from both nations were up last year.”

Chinese imports, though, headed up 6.9% and shipments from South Korea rose 6.2%, which Rogers said, “possibly reflects concerns  about hawkish commentary on tariffs and trade deals from President Donald Trump.”

Rogers said that Hurricane Harvey had some effect, with U.S. East Coast imports down, as well as European Union shipments off 1.9% for its first decline since December 2015. And ocean shipments from Mexico dipped 12.9%.

Looking at August, Rogers noted it could be an all-time record month for imports, as well for full-year 2017.

“[This] should be possible, based on prior year’s patterns,” he said. “These have typically included shipments in September that are lower than August – reflecting the timing of the peak shipping season. Last year the pattern was distorted by the failure of HanjinShipping at the end of August. This year Huricane Irma may have a similar effect – it may disrupt 10,600 TEUs per day – raising the stakes for the shipping industry in October.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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