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Transpacific volumes set for first annual decline since 2009

Alphaliner is warning the eastbound transpacific container trade will register its first negative year in a decade. The container analysts are predicting a -2% drop for the full year 2019, thanks to an especially poor final quarter.

October data shows a -3.9% drop with larger falls anticipated in November and December. On the US West Coast, Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland recorded a combined drop of -12.0% in total container throughput last month.

“Continued uncertainty over the imposition of new US import tariffs has failed to trigger another round of front-loading. In spite of an increased number of sailings blanked by carriers in November, there have not been any reports of space constraints on the transpacific trade so far,” Alphaliner noted in its most recent weekly report.

Maersk, MSC, Hapag-Lloyd and Cosco have been the main losers in transpacific market share this year, with Evergreen the main winner.

With the shocking October figures coming in, a new concerted campaign by the Port of Los Angeles has kicked off this week to try and overturn the trade war.

A new study commissioned by the port entitled ‘By the Numbers: Jeopardizing the National Benefits of Trade through America’s Busiest Port Complex’, claims the tariffs from the trade war threaten the jobs of 1.5m American citizens.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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