The Supply Chain Daily provides a curated overview of Panjiva's research and insights covering global trade policy, the logistics sector and industrial supply chains and draws from global shipping and freight data.
ZIM Shipping zooms ahead of peers with China success, Canada routes
The container shipping industry is facing a tough end to 2019. Volumes handled on U.S.-inbound routes fell by 5.5% year over year in November, following a 7.3% slide in October. The shipping firms also face uncertainties regarding fuel costs related to new sulfur emission rules and potential greenhouse gas regulations.
The policy environment has been more favorable though with shipping alliances retaining their exemption from competition rules while the U.S.-China phase one trade deal may reduce pressure on volumes.
The worst performing shipping line on U.S.-inbound routes in November was COSCO SHIPPING Holdings Co. Ltd. with a 14.2% year-over-year slump due to its exposure to China-U.S. routes. Hapag-Lloyd AG, meanwhile, saw a drop of 4.1% despite running a higher proportion of Europe-U.S. journeys.
Most other top 12 shipping firms saw a decline with the exception of ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. which increased by 4.8%. ZIM's shipping to the U.S. from China climbed 8.1% while new services from Canada for firms including Bunge Ltd. and The Unilever Group were also a major driver of the container line's success.
Roku growth rolls over before trade deal relief arrives
Roku Inc.'s CFO, Steve Louden, will step down after overseeing a period of rapid growth at the streaming video player firm. Revenue climbed 50% year over year in the third quarter, largely thanks to sales of its platform and hardware.
There may be signs that growth in the latter is slowing. U.S. seaborne imports linked to the firm and its products doubled in the second quarter compared to a year earlier, but have subsequently slowed, including a 34.5% slump in November. The period saw stockpiling ahead of tariffs which hit televisions in September.
The phase one U.S.-China trade deal may provide some relief. That is particularly important given China represented 85.6% of total U.S. seaborne imports linked to the firm in the 12 months to Nov. 30, compared to 94.7% in 2017.
'Rise of Skywalker' leads to a rise in Disney's Star Wars imports
The premiere this week of The Walt Disney Co.'s "The Rise of Skywalker" marks the end of the latest Star Wars series. The launch of the Disney+ TV channel provides a new hope for continued merchandise sales in years to come.
U.S. seaborne imports linked to Star Wars climbed 52.6% year over year in the peak shipping period of July 1 to Nov. 30. Imports in 2019 were 16.2% below 2017's level when "The Last Jedi" was released.
Imports of games have outpaced toys with growth of 65.5% versus 46.1%, respectively, driven partly by new games distributed by Hasbro Inc. Shipments linked to new TV shows such as "The Mandalorian," including an eagerly awaited Baby Yoda, have yet to emerge.
North Korea sanctions normalization sought, could help Chinese apparel buyers
The governments of China and Russia are pushing for a relaxation of United Nations sanctions against North Korea in order to encourage a restart of the so-called six party talks including the U.S. China holds the main economic relationship with the DPRK.
Exports to North Korea from China increased by 19.6% year over year in October to reach $271 million — the highest since November 2017. That outstripped imports by 16-to-one raising questions about how North Korea's trade deficit with China is funded.
Reducing sanctions in place since 2017 on North Korea exports of fish and textiles may help cut the deficit. Chinese imports from North Korea reached $2.49 billion in 2015, compared to $211 million in the past 12 months.
Shipments included imports of textiles and apparel worth $800 million.
China may take the ethanol pledge, helping Trump before the elections
The Chinese government may include a commitment to import U.S. ethanol in its new trade deal with the U.S., though it is not in a hurry to make decisions. The deal requires China increase imports from the U.S. by $200 billion in the 2020 to 2021 period, compared to 2017.
U.S. exports of ethanol in the 12 months to Oct. 31 reached $2.18 billion, yielding export growth potential from China that would be politically palatable to the Trump administration ahead of the elections in key swing states including Iowa and Minnesota.
Prioritizing China for U.S. exports would make life more difficult for Brazilian importers including Raízen Energia SA and Petróleo Brasileiro SA - Petrobras which represented 25.5% of U.S. exports in the past 12 months. Alternative sources could include Argentina, though that represented just 6.2% of Brazil's imports in the past 12 months, compared to 92.9% for the U.S.
Panama Canal avoids the worst of the trade war, but is not immune
The Panama Canal has continued to see growth in traffic, with a 6.5% rise in transits in November, compared to a year earlier. That included a 21.2% surge in crossings by larger Neopanamax vessels.
The growth suggests that the U.S.-China trade war has not had an effect on vessel routings, though a 2.4% slide in imports from eight Asian countries to the U.S. East Coast suggests that the volume of traffic crossing the canal may have fallen. The phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China should help normalize traffic patterns going into 2020.
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Christopher Rogers is a senior researcher at Panjiva, which is a business line of S&P Global Market Intelligence, a division of S&P Global Inc. This content does not constitute investment advice, and the views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
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