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.

Special Coverage

Container carriers in the slowing US import and export trades are exercising increased discipline, maintaining capacity levels rather than introducing new vessels in an attempt to secure a larger share of the market.

News & Analysis

23 Sep 2019
The global economic slowdown and US-China trade war is putting a dent in the high-growth outlook for India’s breakbulk and project cargo trade.
20 Sep 2019
CMA CGM backs off from proposed $50 administrative fee for detention and demurrage documentation processing after swift customer pushback.
20 Sep 2019
The FMC’s recommendations stem from an 18-month effort led by Commissioner Rebecca Dye to address complaints from cargo owners and drayage drivers over what they considered unfair fees for failing to pick up cargo and return equipment in a timely manner.
20 Sep 2019
The need for speed and distribution points closer to customers is fueling growth and demand for more capacity among LTL carriers, even in a softer overall freight market.
20 Sep 2019
With holiday season imports unable to gain traction and spot rates declining for the third consecutive week, peak-season 2019 will be defined by blanked sailings rather than surging cargo volumes.
20 Sep 2019
The newly formed Getting to Zero Coalition, comprising members of the maritime, energy, infrastructure, and financial sectors, will lead commercial efforts to meet the International Maritime Organization’s goal of halving carbon emissions from shipping by 2050.

Commentary

US import tariffs on Chinese goods have dominated the headlines of late, and for good reason, but they may be distracting from other pressing matters for US-based firms engaged in international trade.

More Commentary

Video



IHS Markit Chief Economist Nariman Behravesh shares his outlook for global economic and trade growth with attendees at the 18th Annual TPM Conference at a time of growing uncertainty surrounding fiscal and trade policy.



CEO and Executive Director of the Port of Virginia John Reinhart and JOC Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi discuss the year ahead at the Port of Virginia amid growing volumes and shifting transportation landscape.



Sponsored: Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero discusses big-ship ready improvements, in