U.S.-bound Import Levels Up, Says Panjiva

United States-bound waterborne imports had a strong end-of-the-year finish, according to data issued by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

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United States-bound waterborne imports had a strong end-of-the-year finish, according to data issued by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

December shipments––at 928,535––were up 8.9 percent annually and up 0.3 percent compared to November’s 926,198. The busiest month of 2016 was August, which eclipsed the 1 million shipment mark.

For all of 2016, shipments were up 2.4 percent annually to 11,137,860, marking the first time in Panjiva’s shipment-tracking history they topped the 11 million mark.
Panjiva said that December’s gains were spurred on by 13 percent and 11 percent gains from the EU and China, respectively, while imports from China and Hong Kong were up only 4.2 percent and 3.5 percent for the fourth quarter compared to a national average of 7.4 percent. Toy imports rose 26.8 percent, and automotive imports saw a 7 percent gain, while apparel imports fell 3 percent.

The slight China and Hong Kong increase, according to Panjiva, suggests that the Trump administration “needs to look beyond China for its targets to cut imports, adding that it may want to consider widening the net from just China and Mexico when looking for reasons for rising U.S. imports.

In an interview, Panjiva Research Director Chris Rogers said that the December import numbers reflect a post-election bump in consumer confidence.

“We see this in a few areas,” he said. “One is in toys, where year-over-year they were up nearly 27 percent, following a very disappointing late third quarter and early fourth quarter,” he said. “And is probably suggests consumers were maybe delaying their holiday shopping, not necessarily because of the election but because of a kind of lack of confidence about where the future is headed.”

This thesis also held true for furniture shipments, he said. Furniture shipments were pretty strong for the last six months, and December’s 11.1 percent gain correlates to longer-term consumer confidence. And autos and auto parts increases also reflects consumer confidence, with data from Wards for automotive sales data pointing to solid sales, with the caveat that those were for sales of domestically manufactured automobiles faring better than imports from Europe and Japan.


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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