W.B. Skinner > Record Volume Reported by U.S. Ports But Concern Over Tariffs Clouds Global Trade Outlook

Record Volume Reported by U.S. Ports But Concern Over Tariffs Clouds Global Trade Outlook

Record volumes in port traffic have been recorded throughout the U.S. by ports across the country during the first half of 2018. The Port of New York and New Jersey, for example, reported year-to-date volume through May, of 2,825,103 TEUs, 6.8% higher than year ago.

However, several port directors are worried that the boost in business will be affected bypotential economic tariffs issued by the U.S. and retaliatory efforts by other nations in response. As of today, the situation remains fluid; the White House announced yesterday a new initiative with the European Union to slash tariffs on industrial goods except cars, although tariffs on steel and aluminum imports remain in place.

In an interview with Transport Topics (July 19), Kurt Nagle, president of the American Association of Port Authorities, cited a general increase in business at all the ports. “Trade in general is up, so it’s a far more broad barometer, opposed to Port X gaining at the expense of Port Y,” he said.

In recent testimony before a Senate Finance Subcommittee, Nagle expressed the AAPA’s concern that tariffs could, when coupled with retaliatory actions by America’s trading partners, “adversely affect employment at ports and throughout the goods-movement supply chain.”

He urged that before any sanctions be put into place, the impact to the whole transportation network and its affected jobs, be evaluated.

Meanwhile, portions of a series of new import tariffs (Section 232 on steel and aluminum) went into effect on July 6. The Administration has also warned of additional tariffs on auto and auto parts, although the exact terms are not yet clear.

If your goods may be affected by current and/or future tariffs, we advise you to do the following:

  • Know whether your imports are affected and decide what you’re going to do about it.
  • If you have a question about whether your products are affected by the tariffs, we may be able to help. We can tell you what impact the tariffs will have on your shipments, and help you file an exemption.
  • Don’t panic, but also don’t ignore the possible significant impact to your business.

This continues to be a very fluid situation, and we are here to help you find the proper course of action.

Contact me if we can be of help and check back on our website at www.wbskinner.com for frequent updates.