Innovating Newsletter: US-China Trade War - US West Coast Port Performance

Nov. 30, 2018

 |  Insights

Throughout 2018, US import volumes have been higher than in 2017, in large part due to the ongoing US and China trade war. As the two countries started implementing tariff increases on imports, shippers have responded by shipping products before each set of new tariffs goes into effect to minimize costs. At the same time, carriers have controlled capacity on the trans-Pacific trade lane. In this month’s issue of Innovating, we reviewed how the top US West Coast ports have been performing during the trade war. We also reviewed carriers’ schedule reliability in October with expanded trade lane coverage and revisited the impact of terminal system updates at the Port of Felixstowe.

  • US-China Trade War – Port Performance: We analyzed vessel arrivals, arrival delays, and berth times at the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Seattle-Tacoma. The most dramatic change has been the monthly average vessel arrival delays, which increased over 45% from May to October at the ports. The monthly average delay was under 24 hours at each of the ports in May and then rose to a monthly average delay of 28 to 35 hours at each of the ports in October.
  • Carrier Reliability Report: This month, we expanded the scope of our schedule reliability monthly analysis. We added 12 trade lanes, raising our coverage to include 20 ocean carriers, 25 trade lanes, and approximately 30,000 vessel schedules, 800 services, 110 container ports, and 2,400 port pairs. We found that overall reliability increased by 8.2%, from 53.1% in September to 61.3% in October.
  • World Incidents – Felixstowe: We revisited the Port of Felixstowe to see if operations have improved since the upgrades to its terminal systems in June of this year. Overall, we found that the average vessel berth times and waiting times improved from August to October. However, the vessel arrival delays grew worse causing shippers to continue to experience cargo delays.

December report for detail

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