Trans-Pacific Trade

Trans-Pacific Trade

The trans-Pacific ocean shipping market is by far North America’s largest trade lane, accounting for nearly 20 million 20-foot-equivalent container units in the U.S. trade alone in 2012.

The market is dominated by imports by large retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s, which, unlike in other markets, tend to contract directly with ocean carriers rather than through forwarders, as is typically the case in the Asia-Europe market. As a result of the one-year contracts that retailers and other large shippers typically sign as of May 1 each year, freight rates in the trans-Pacific eastbound trade tend to be less volatile than in Asia-Europe.

Key developments in the trans-Pacific include the approaching 2015 expansion of the Panama Canal and its potentially huge impact on routing of Asia goods into North America, Canadian West Coast ports’ growing success in attracting U.S.-bound cargo, and West Coast ports’ expected response to these competitive challenges.

Exports moving to those markets typically are lower-value commodities such as wastepaper and scrap that keep China’s manufacturing and packaging industries humming.

News & Analysis

Port of Los Angeles.
14 Dec 2018
Eastbound trans-Pacific spot rates fell for the fourth straight week.
Air cargo being loaded in China.
05 Dec 2018
Of course, many factors can be involved in an air cargo volume uptrend, but this holiday season trade tension and the threat of higher tariffs certainly is one.
Port of Los Angeles.
04 Dec 2018
Ocean carriers will have even more reason to show trans-Pacific capacity discipline, if Sea-Intelligence’s demand forecast proves to be accurate; however, a current container shipping trend may make that doubly hard.
Two ships at the Port of Los Angeles.
30 Nov 2018
Following a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires on Saturday at the G20 summit, President Trump agreed to a 90-day truce in which the US wouldn’t impose higher tariffs on Jan 1. as threatened.
Port of Los Angeles.
16 Nov 2018
The US imports surge from Asia since mid-summer is due largely to savvy capacity management by carriers individually and through vessel-sharing alliances. However, retailers’ front-loading of imports to stay ahead of tariffs on mainland China led to an earlier-than-expected peak-shipping season this summer and now to fast-forwarding of spring merchandise.
SM Line.
13 Nov 2018
“There is no will or reason to merge the two companies. SM Line will continue to build its own business models and we will do our part to survive in the market independently,” said SM Line CEO Kim during a meeting at the company’s headquarters in Seoul.

Commentary

From the vantage point of early December 2018, the current year will be a mixed bag of near disaster, continuing frustrations, and some glimmer of hope; it all depends on your position and perspective.