Panjiva reports a good start to 2016 for import growth
Aided by favorable annual comparisons, United States-bound waterborne shipments began 2016 on a good note, according to data from Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.
January shipments, at 880,579, topped December by 4 percent, following a 3 percent gain from November to December. And on an annual basis shipments in January saw a 11 percent jump, due in large part to the low import numbers seen in January 2015 as a result of the West Coast port labor situation, which was still significantly impacting freight flows and import volumes at that time.
On a sequential basis, the December to January increase is somewhat mixed, when compared to a -10 percent dip in 2015, a 7 percent gain in 2014, and a 1 percent increase in 2013.
But even with the January volumes benefitting from the 2015 port travails, Panjiva is hopeful that growth will continue in 2016.
But Panjiva Research Director Annelise McCarthy said that it is too early at this point to forecast how things play out, as the 11 percent annual gain is viewed as circumstantial, when factoring in how January 2016 was below January 2014, a more typical month, by 2 percent.
“The January 2016 data does not necessarily tell the full story,” she said. “This is a very reasonable start to the year, with things neither negative or positive just yet. It just looks positive, because the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach bounced back 28 percent annually in January.”
As for current global trade themes and conditions, McCarthy said there seems to be a general sense of optimism about 2016, but that optimism is somewhat down compared to previous years.
Items of concern on the global trade front include currency devaluation, China’s current economic issues, the impact of an act of terrorism on the global economy, and how the Trans Pacific Partnership could impact global trade in the coming years.
When asked about the current issues in China and its effect on global trade, McCarthy said that while it is a concern, it has not shown up in import data yet.