U.S. Imports and Exports Slow, Increasing Trade Imbalance

This summer has seen a reduction in global demand of U.S. containerized exports, particularly with the U.S. number one trading partner, China. Both containerized imports and exports were down in August, with analysts suggesting that a growing trade imbalance may be on its way. A larger trade imbalance could complicate both inbound and outbound freight flows and the movement of chassis and containers between U.S. ports and inland distribution points.

According to trade analysts, U.S. containerized exports fell 1.3 percent between July and August, due to reduced domestic demand in China. Year-over-year, containerized exports were 18.7 percent lower, exasperating the gap between U.S. imports and exports. Despite being up 1 percent year over year, the U.S import container index dropped 7 percent in August. This was after hitting a record high in July attributed to many shippers bringing in cargo early this year to avoid any disruptions associated with labor negotiations between the ports and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).