Posted January 14, 2021
The trade war with China is forcing U.S. shippers to look for new sources of low-cost consumer goods. Southeast seaports are benefitting from those switches as shippers opt for lower cost and more accessible gateways.
The value of China’s exports to the U.S. are down 12.3 percent through the first half of 2019 to $219 billion. The drop stems from President Donald Trump’s escalation of tariffs against China with another 10 percent tariff slated to take effect this coming September 1 and December 15 on $300 billion worth of imports coming from China.
The tariffs continue to raise the cost of sourcing from China. Chinese-made goods carry an average tariff rate of 18.3 percent, according to the Petersen Institute for International Economics, up from an average 3.1 percent in 2017.
The natural result is that U.S. shippers are using other low-cost countries to replace Chinese manufacturing. More of the goods from those countries are reaching the U.S. outside of its biggest seaports, according to intermodal executives.
“We are seeing a realignment of steamship service strings from China to other exporters like Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia,” RoadOne Chief Executive Officer Ken Kellaway told FreightWaves in an interview. “Some of the inbound containers are shifting a little because the ports might not have the right string to service those new sources.”