The Impact of COVID-19 on Trade

The Impact of COVID-19 on Trade

April 27, 2020

As we all know, COVID-19 has had the biggest negative impact on our economy since the recession of 2008—and that includes causing issues in the international intermodal trucking industry. This unprecedented event has caused delays in and cancellations of shipments, renegotiations of tariffs and slowed international business communications regarding trade. In short, the virus has caused a massive slowdown in nearly every aspect of trade and business. Here’s a brief overview of COVID-19’s impact on international trade in North Charleston, SC and beyond:

  • Postponed meetings and negotiations: Both international and domestic organizations, from the European Union to the World Trade Organization and the United States International Trade Commission, have postponed or rescheduled their meetings for a later date, ideally after the pandemic has been contained.
  • Tariff renegotiation with China: Some tariffs between China and the United States have been suspended or deferred at this time, while others may be renegotiated, thanks to a force majeure clause in our trade agreements. Tariffs are currently excluded from Chinese health and medical products being shipped to the United States.
  • Export restrictions: In an effort to supply healthcare systems with the equipment they need, at least 54 international governments have imposed restrictions on health and medical supply exports. The EU, for example, has written into the restrictions that they should be no more stringent than necessary, considering our global time of need—but it does impact what we can buy from and ship to other countries.
  • Travel restrictions: Finally, travel restrictions have been imposed in the United States as well as other countries. While the president has repeatedly declared that trade is a high priority, non-essential business (such as individual personal travel) is limited.

How COVID-19 is affecting All Points Transport

China is the biggest importer on the east coast, accounting for approximately a quarter of all containers imported (usually around 200,000 containers per week). Typically, we see a slowdown in February and March due to the Chinese New Year, but then business begins to increase. However, international trade during COVID-19 in North Charleston, SC is currently seeing vessels arriving at around 10 percent full.

The South Carolina Ports Authority expects a slight increase in May 2020. All Points Transport is considered an essential business, and thus will remain open for any of our customers’ trucking needs. While the whole situation frustrating for many of us, rest assured that we have a plan in place to keep our customers and our workers safe, and that we will be available when the economy reopens. Until then, all we can do is be safe and hope for the best.

All Points Transport has been North Charleston’s premier intermodal and containerized transport expert for over a decade. No matter what your international trade needs may be during COVID-19 in North Charleston, SC, we are sure to have a solution for you. Call us today to learn more about our operations during the pandemic and how we can help serve you. In the meantime, we hope all of our customers are staying safe and healthy!

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