International ports across America are feeling the effects of today’s low consumer spending and high inventory on store shelves across the country. As consumer spending continues to hang at a low rate, shipping companies are feeling the effects on their shipping imports and overall industry shipping rates. Several ports in Oregon were closed and shipping containers are for sale. At this slow point in the shipping season, many shipping companies and ports are looking for alternative ways to keep their businesses healthy.
As inventory rates remain high in stores throughout America, this is leading to a lower rate of ships coming through ports. According to Logistics Management, May job reports for shipping ports is the lowest the industry has seen within the past six years. While many jobs have been taken away from ports, the pay rates have continued to increase. There is a conversation surrounding a potential increase in consumer spending due to the increase in wages throughout the country as a whole, but the expectations for this to pan out the way predicted is quite low, continuing the pattern of low imports and low consumer spending.
If consumer spending continues to stay low and shipping imports continue to decrease there may continue to be a loss within the industry. As the loss continues, something will have to give whether that loss comes on the shipping end of the industry or the port end. This is likely to be determined as the next few months play out. If imports see a rise, port employees may see an increase in demand for jobs as ports currently do not have excess staff.
This year’s projection is showing a consistent decline over the next few months. California Apparel News projects that through September 2016, cargo imports will continue to be slow. From May until September, shipping container imports are projected to decrease by around 1.5 million containers each month. This significant decrease in containers will have a significant impact on workflow as well as influencing what consumers around the country will find on their store shelves.
As the decline in shipping imports continues the industry is taking a cautious approach to how the ports and consumer spending is being handled. Industry leaders are hoping for consumer spending to continue growth, but as of now are only seeing the growth at a lower rate than they would like to. Once consumer spending sees an increase, the shipping industry may see the long waited increase in imports.