Friday, March 31, 2017

Economist Predicts US Cargo Container Trade Growth

By Mark Edward Nero

International trade is expected to grow for the US in 2017, as domestic economic conditions improve and the world economy accelerates, an economic forecaster predicted at the Port of Long Beach’s annual “Pulse of the Ports” peak season forecast on March 29.

Containerized imports from Asia are expected to increase by 6.9 percent in 2017, but US container exports to Asia to climb a modest 1.3 percent, according to panelist Mario Moreno, Senior Economist with IHS Maritime & Trade.

He also predicted that the overall US economy would rise by about 2.3 percent this year.

More than 500 people attended the 13th annual forecast event hosted by the Port of Long Beach and presented at the Long Beach Convention Center. Industry experts offered insight into trends in global shipping and how they affect the San Pedro Bay port complex.

A panel of six experts from all sectors of the supply chain shared their views on new container vessel alliances, fluid international trade policy, railroads, trucking and other issues facing worldwide commerce.

In addition to Moreno, panelists included John Zarrella, Sales Manager, Preferred Shipper Services; Ken O'Brien, Chief Operating Officer, Gemini Shippers Group; Steve Rothberg, Partner, Mercator International LLC; Anthony Hatch, Principal, ABH Consulting; and Alex Cherin, Intermodal Conference Executive Director, California Trucking Association.

The question and answer portion of the event was moderated by Mark Hirzel, District Manager of A.N. Deringer Inc., while Port of Long Beach Chief Commercial Officer Noel Hacegaba served as master of ceremonies.

Port of Long Beach Interim Chief Executive Duane Kenagy said that the annual forecast event helps industry see the big picture and plan more accurately for the months ahead.

“We have challenges this year,” he said. The challenges include the effects of the new vessel-sharing alliances, growth among competing North American ports and how Washington will address trade policies. “This forum gives us the opportunity to step back and take a look at our industry’s issues from all angles.”

The archived webcast of the event is available at