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What impact could a strike by the International Longshoremen’s Association have? World Trade 100 asked Zepol to examine data from the prior year peak shipping season and provide a picture of the volume and value of consumer goods moving through the ports.
We looked at the period from September through November to determine the value of shipments moving through the East Coast ports in both imports and exports. The total value of consumer goods moving through the ports was over $30 billion.
East Coast imports of consumer goods totaled $24,929,127,698. Gulf Coast imports of consumer goods totaled $945,849,862. Together, the ports handled nearly $26 billion in imports.
The two coasts handled nearly $6 billion in exports of consumer goods. The East Coast accounted for $5,113,055,639 in exports and the Gulf Coast $509,528,475. The total exports of consumer goods was $5.6 billion.
Measured on volume, by twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs), the East Coast received 1,765,325 TEUs of consumer goods. The Gulf Coast received 185,527 TEUs of import containers. The total was just under 2 million TEUs.
The most recent three months of data on container imports are tracking higher than the previous year at over 2 billion TEUs, though the comparison is a little skewed because the data cover June, July and August of 2012 and not the September-to-November period, which would need to rely on forecasts at this stage. With some shippers already diverting shipments or possibly expediting shipments to clear the ports before a strike, it is difficult to project the increased values of volumes that might be involved in this shipping season.