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With no let-up in consumer demand, container imports into the 10 largest US ports soared by 25% last month, compared with the previous year.
With the forward booking visibility of transpacific carriers indicating that the US import boom is set to continue to at least the Chinese New Year in February, import throughput is likely to stay high.
The intense focus on repositioning empty equipment back to Asia to meet export demand and benefit from the exceptionally high spot rates, has skewed the trade imbalance further.
Several import sectors saw big spikes in volume during November, with the furniture, sporting goods and toy categories recording a 55% gain, up on the 52% and 41% gains seen in October and September.
Despite the positive import numbers, November US exports fell 4.2%, the ninth consecutive monthly drop, further worsening the trade imbalance to a near-historical record ratio of 2.32 import loads for every one export. In fact, some US exporters are being told by some that equipment will not be made available to them.
The latest data seems to indicate that much, if not all, of the initial impact of tariffs reducing container imports from China has dissipated, leaving container exports hurting more than imports.
ONE Apus Begins Offloading After Losing Containers In Severe Weather
The containership ONE Apus remains safely berthed at the Port of Kobe, Japan after losing 1,816 containers overboard due to encountering severe weather in November. Now, operations for the safe removal of the displaced containers on deck have started after permission to proceed was granted by the Japanese Coast Guard.
The careful removal of the dislodged units under a schedule formulated by stowage planners is expected to take over a month. Once unloaded, each will be assessed; when the discharge of cargo is complete, there will be a full assessment of damage to the vessel and subsequent repairs.
LTL Service Issues Multiply as COVID-19, Freight Demand Surge
US shippers are experiencing supply chain problems across modes, including in the less-than-truckload (LTL) sector, where extended transit times, missed pickups and deliveries, and lack of capacity continue to disrupt shipping amid the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic.
No Deal Brexit Possible as Deadline Nears
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen both warned that a no-deal Brexit is looming on Dec. 31 as they continued last-ditch talks to try to reach a deal before Sunday.
Johnson said on Friday that a no-deal Brexit at the end of the year now looks “very, very likely.” His pleas for European Union leaders to step in and salvage the faltering negotiations were frustrated as summit talks overran on Thursday night, pushing Brexit to the fringes.
Both sides have said they will continue discussions until Sunday, but officials concede that, without fresh political direction, the negotiating teams will have little to talk about.
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