Shippers rushing to beat tariffs? Port of Oakland reports record imports

The Port of Oakland reported Thrusday that import volume reached a record high last month, possibly due to shippers rushing to beat import tariffs that kicked in this month.

The summer and fall are peak season for the port — third-busiest in California and fifth in the country — when most U.S. imports from Asia are shipped, and with the surging economy, shipping was expected to be strong.

But the port also said importers may have ordered aggressively in June ahead of tariffs imposed this month by the U.S. and China as the Trump administration ramps up an ongoing trade dispute.

“It’s all speculative,” Port of Oakland spokesman Mike Zampa said, noting that hard data won’t be available for four to six weeks. “But analysts who look at the industry regularly tell us that importers may have been ordering more than usual this time of year to try and preempt the imposition of tariffs.”

The port said it handled the equivalent of 87,207 20-foot import containers in June, beating the previous monthly record of 84,835 containers set last July. June import volume was up 8.7 percent over June 2017, the port said. Total container volume in Oakland is up 2.3 percent so far this year, in line with a January port forecast projecting growth between 2 and 3 percent in 2018.

Port officials said it’s too soon to project the impact of 2018 tariff increases on cargo from China. They said the increases would have affected about $225 million of China imports had they been in place last year.

China was the port’s top trading partner in 2017, accounting for 49 percent of imports and 30 percent of exports, port spokesman Robert Bernardo said. Furniture and bedding accounted for 49 percent of all imports from China, with Costco Wholesale, Crate and Barrel and Outdoor Living the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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