Posts Tagged “U.S. imports”

Shipping Operations Expect U.S. Import Binge to Lose Steam

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U.S. surging imports are fueling record high freight costs and logjams at seaports, but transportation executives expect the rally to lose steam with a second wave of Covid-19 restrictions.

Reuters news agency reports container shipping companies got stung late last year and early this year when the pandemic halted trade around the world, and they question whether the U.S. import boom can be sustained.

“Let’s not get carried away,” Rolf Habben Jansen, chief executive of Germany’s Hapag Lloyd, was quoted as telling reporters. “This is just a spike that no one has foreseen in an unusual period. There will be a correction to that.”

U.S. consumer confidence ticked up in September, when retail sales accelerated. Still, consumers are eating through savings, layoffs are mounting and the country just set a record for new COVID-19 infections.

“Everything depends on the demand and how the second wave of COVID affects the world economy,” Aristides Pittas, CEO of shipping company Euroseas, said at a Capital Link virtual event.

In recent weeks, the cost of transporting goods from Asia to the United States – one of the world’s biggest retail markets – topped $4,500 per 40-foot container unit (FEU), the highest recorded level, data from S&P Global Platts Containers showed.

“We are sold out. The ships are 100 percent full. The containers are 100 percent full. You can’t get a container,” Jeremy Nixon, CEO of Japanese container group Ocean Network Express (ONE), said at a recent International Chamber of Shipping virtual event.

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Berries, Grapes and Avocados Lead U.S Import Increases

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U.S. imports of fruits and vegetables rose 6 percent from May 2019 through April 2020, which was led by grapes, avocados and berries.

USDA trade statistics report imports of fresh vegetables for the period were $9.31 billion for the year ending April, up 7 percent. Imports of frozen/fresh fruit were $15.08 billion, up 6 percent.

Combined U.S. imports of fruits and vegetables totaled $24.38 billion, up 6 percent from the previous year.

Imports of avocados rose 14 percent for the year ending in April, the value of grape imports increased 24 percent and berries (excluding strawberries) increased 8 percent compared with the previous year.

U.S. imports for the year from May 2019 to April 2020, with percentage change compared to the previous year:

  • Berries (excluding strawberries): $2.92 billion, up 8 percent;
  • Avocados: $2.79 billion, up 14 percent;
  • Bananas/Plantains (fresh/frozen), $2.46 billion, up 1 percent;
  • Tomatoes: $2.4 billion, up 1 percent;
  • Grapes: $1.77 billion, up 24 percent;
  •  Peppers: $1,66 billion, up 4 percent;
  • Citrus: $1.18 billion, down 6 percent; and
  • Strawberries (fresh or frozen): $1.01 billion, up 3 percent.

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U.S. Imports Plunge in April Amid COVID-19 Concerns

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U.S. foodservice business in April plunged because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which apparently contributed to a steep fall in U.S. fruit and vegetable imports.

U.S. imports of fresh vegetables in April were $770.2 million, down 25 percent from March and off 6.5percent from April 2019, according to the USDA..

Imports of fruit (both fresh and frozen) in April were $1.27 billion, off 23 percent from March and down 17 percent from April 2019.

By commodity, imports of U.S. fresh produce in April, with percent change from April 2019, were:

  • Berries (excluding strawberries: $284.9 million, up 3 percent;
  • Bananas: $216 million, no change;
  • Avocados: $191 million, down 41 percent;
  • Tomatoes: $185 million, down 13 percent;
  • Peppers: $150 million, down 8 percent;
  • Grapes: $145 million, down 20 percent;
  • Strawberries: $118 million, no change;
  • Melons: $86 million, down 31 percent;
  • Cucumbers: $78 million, up 3 percent;
  • Pineapples: $50 million, down 25 percent; and
  • Mangoes: $48 million, down 17 percent.

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There is Double-Digit Growth for U.S. Produce Imports

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DSCN9013While U.S. exports were flat in 2016, U.S. imports of fresh fruits and vegetables growth hit double-digit rates.

Imports of fresh fruits were up 10 percent, amounting to $12.4 billion in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while the value of imports of fresh vegetables rose 14 percent  to $8 billion. Last year, Mexico supplied 70 percent of the total U.S. vegetable imports and 31 percent of all U.S. fruit imports, according to the USDA.  Chile supplied 17 percent of U.S. fruit imports in 2016.  Canada was a major supplier of fresh vegetables, with 16 percent of all U.S. fresh vegetable imports in 2016.
In 2016, U.S. exports of fresh fruits were unchanged from 2015 at $4.5 billion, according to the USDA.  U.S. exports of fresh vegetables rose 2percent to $2.4 billion in 2016.  Canada purchased 75 percent of U.S. vegetable exports and 36 percent of U.S. fruit exports in 2016; Mexico purchased 11 percent of U.S. fruit exports and 4 percent of U.S. vegetable exports, according to USDA statistics.
Top Banana
The USDA reported the top U.S. imported fresh produce item for 2016 was bananas, at a value of $2.67 billion, up 1 percent from 2015.    Ranking second, were fresh tomato imports that totaled $2.26 billion in 2016, up 17 percent from the previous year.
Berry imports in 2016 (excluding strawberries) hit $2.05 billion, up 11 percent from 2015.
U.S. avocado imports also rose sharply in 2016, totaling $1.91 billion, up 18 percent from 2015.
Other leading produce imported commodities for 2016 were:
  • grapes: $1.5 billion, up 12 percent;
  • peppers: $1.46 billion, up 20 percent;
  • citrus: $937 million, up 9 percent;
  • fresh/frozen strawberries: $745 million, up 22 percent;
  • melons: $710 million, up 16 percent;
  • cucumbers: $690 million, up 12 percent:
  • fresh/frozen pineapples: $668 million, up 3 percent; and
  • asparagus: $630 million, up 12 percent.
Apples Fade
The top U.S. export commodity for 2016 was apples, according to the USDA. Exports of fresh apples totaled $921 million in 2016, off 10 percent compared with the previous year.
The number two export item was grapes, with 2016 value of $785 million, up 5percent compared with 2015.
Other top U.S. fresh produce exports in 2016 were:
  • oranges and tangerines: $700 million, up 13 percent;
  • berries: $686 million, unchanged;
  • cherries: $476 million, up 11 percent;
  • lettuce: $465 million, down 10 percent;
  • potatoes: $203 million, up 11 percent; and
  • onions: $192 million, up 17 percent.

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