Point Global Weekly Update – 1-27-23

Ports Post Strong Volume for 2022 Despite December Drop-Off

Despite a significant slowdown in the second half of 2022, two major West Coast ports approached the record-setting pace they had in 2021.

Port of Los Angeles officials said the facility still finished as the nation’s busiest container port for the 23rd consecutive year, processing 9,911,158 20-foot-equivalent units, down nearly 7.2% from 2021’s 10,677,609.

For December the port processed 728,871 containers, down 7.3% to 786,588 year-over-year.

“We started 2022 at that same frenetic pace with 109 vessels in our queue, yet we ended with a disappointing 20% decline that began last August,” Executive Director Gene Seroka said during his annual State of the Port address.

Industry study tracks China tariffs’ added costs to importers and consumers

For nearly five years now, consumer goods industries that rely heavily on Chinese imports for low-cost sourcing have been waging a campaign against the Section 301 tariffs.

In the years since the Trump administration raised concerns about a modern trade war, China’s share of imports to the U.S. have fallen in those consumer goods categories covered in the report. Once again, it’s difficult to parse out the effects from tariffs from those arguably much larger impacts from supply chain risks and costs relating to the pandemic and China’s internal response to it.

From 2017 to 2022, China’s share of total apparel imports has fallen from 34% to 22%, according to the study, which was released by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the Footwear Retailers & Distributors of America (FDRA), the National Retail Federation (NRF), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), and the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA). China’s share of 301 tariff-specific apparel imports fell from 92% to 88%.


West Coast Port Labor Contract Talks Remain in Limbo

Long-stalled West Coast port labor talks are showing no signs of progress, according to people familiar with the negotiations, extending uncertainty for U.S. retailers who rely on the coast to import goods from Asia.

Shipping industry and Biden administration officials had hoped the talks, which began in May, would conclude last fall. But, people familiar with the negotiations say the parties haven’t made progress since the summer on regional issues that are delaying discussion of major contract provisions, including wages and automation.

One person familiar with the talks said there was a growing sense of frustration in the maritime industry. ”Everyone would like to see this conclude so there’s no more uncertainty in the market and we can move on,” the person said.