Director of Global Sales, Cargo Services
Last month our team put together a list of 2019 trends for the freight forwarding industry. Our observations are based on daily experiences working with top Midwest companies moving shipments around the world.
Recently I joined an industry webinar presented by JOC.com where industry leaders discussed their observations, which echo what we’re seeing and saying.
There’s no ONE peak season: Daniel Hackett from an international trade consulting firm agrees with our assessment. The numbers of the last few years show a dual peak season: back to school and holiday shopping seasons. Our Cargo Services team believes any disruption such as calamity/political action, such as tariff discussions, will create mini peak seasons and possible general rate increases.
Trade risk will continue to impact the industry: China’s economy is slowing. Tariff discussions continue and risk continues in Europe due to Brexit, emission standards and financial challenges in Europe. We continue to keep our eye on the global economic outlook.
Import/export change: In 2018, the U.S. experienced import growth of 6.2 percent, yet some professional pundits see that as a down year because 2017 imports grew at a higher percentage. Exports grew 3 percent in 2018 compared to 2.4 percent in 2017, which points to success in some policies imposed over the last years as compared to 2.4 export growth in 2017.
Port impact: East coast ports led the way in growth for both imports and exports in 2018.
- Houston import growth was 9.5 percent and export growth was 11.4 percent.
- New York/New Jersey import growth was 8.2 percent and export growth was 4.3 percent.
- Jacksonville import growth was 11.9 percent and export growth was 11.8 percent.
On the west coast the largest gain came at Prince Rupert at 7.7 percent import growth and 9 percent export growth. Other major ports were at 5 percent or less growth.
The biggest takeaway is that change is the new normal. Companies with the ability to be flexible and move quickly will have an easier time navigating the choppy waters. We will continue to navigate industry trends and economic changes to ensure peace of mind for our clients.