Tariffs and Trucking: Where Do We Stand?
Both the United States and China are implementing new tariffs involving steep tax increases that are complicating the traditionally codependent economic relationship. All cargo ships coming in from China currently pay a 25% tariff upon entering the U.S., resulting in price increases that make consumers hesitant to buy. Similarly, cargo ships from the U.S. entering China pay anywhere from 5% to 20%. As a result, the number of shipments being transported via the ocean is decreasing, diminishing the amount of freight the U.S. is receiving and the demand for trucks to continue to move product along the supply chain.
A new wave of tariffs is going into effect on September 1, 2019, putting a 10% tariff on nearly every Chinese import not already subject to import duties. The list of imports includes some $300 billion worth of Chinese goods and is being implemented with the goal of balancing trade between the United States and China.
Effects on the Trucking Industry
Shipments from China are typically received on the West Coast and primarily fuel the need for trucks in cities including Los Angeles, Oakland, Long Beach and Seattle. However, shipments from China are being sold at a much slower pace as a result of recent price rises. In response, the U.S. is acquiring less cargo from China to accommodate the shift in demand. The trucking companies relying on their business around these port cities are feeling this change the hardest, as fewer imports mean fewer truckers needed.
Potential for Growth
While the West Coast is facing a decrease in business opportunities for truckers, the East Coast is experiencing the opposite. Ports in New York, New Jersey and the Carolinas are experiencing an increase in imports from Europe and Asia. This increase in business along the East Coast presents a potential opportunity for trucking companies to do more business, just in a different area than what they initially planned for. Even though trade between the U.S. and China has slowed down, it is unlikely to ever come to a complete halt and is likely to still be a source of income for many in the trucking industry for years to come.
Adjusting to Change
As the number of imports and exports rapidly change in response to the implementation of new tariffs, it is extremely important for companies to manage their transportation processes. Integrating technology like Kuebix TMS in place of traditionally manual processes can help establish visibility through the entire supply chain and offer better control over such rapidly evolving operations.