International trade is expected to grow for the U.S. in 2017, as domestic economic conditions improve and the world economy accelerates, an economic forecaster said Wednesday at the Port of Long Beach’s 13th annual "Pulse of the Ports Peak Season Forecast."
Containerized imports from Asia will increase by a healthy 6.9 percent in 2017, according to panelist Mario Moreno, Senior Economist with IHS Maritime & Trade. He expects U.S. container exports to Asia to climb a modest 1.3 percent. He also predicted that the overall U.S. economy will rise by an estimated 2.3 percent.
More than 500 people attended the forecast event at the Long Beach Convention Center. The Port of Long Beach hosts the event each year to bring together industry experts to offer insight into trends in global shipping, and how they affect the San Pedro Bay port complex.
Six experts from all sectors of the supply chain offered their views on new container vessel alliances, fluid international trade policy, railroads, trucking and other issues facing worldwide commerce.
Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners Vice President Lou Anne Bynum said that the annual forecast helps industry see the big picture and plan more accurately for the months ahead.
"We are focused on strengthening our partnerships with all of our customers and future customers — to provide efficient, sustainable service,” said Bynum. "To provide that kind of service, we know that we must be in close communication with our supply chain partners to ensure that everyone is ready to work together."
"We have challenges this year, from new alliances to the effects of the new vessel-sharing alliances, growth among competing North American ports and how Washington will address trade policies," said Port of Long Beach Interim Chief Executive Duane Kenagy. "This forum gives us the opportunity to step back and take a look at our industry’s issues from all angles."
Other panelists at the 2017 Pulse of the Ports included John Zarrella, Sales Manager, Preferred Shipper Services; Ken O'Brien, Chief Operating Officer, Gemini Shippers Group; Steve Rothberg, Partner, Mercator International LLC; Anthony B. Hatch, Principal, ABH Consulting; and Alex H. 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. Port of Long Beach Chief Commercial Officer Noel Hacegaba served as the master of ceremonies for the event.