Trump Trade War with China spurs Rush at Port of Los Angeles and more demand for warehouse space
The escalating trade war is leading American retailers to speed up shipments of consumer goods from China into the Port of L.A., the nation's busiest container port.
By bringing goods in earlier than usual, retailers want to avoid new tariffs and ensure stores have adequate supplies for the winter holidays.
As a result, the surge in goods coming in has exacerbated the already tight availability of warehouse space in some key markets close to the twin L.A./Long Beach ports complex.
The escalating trade war with China is leading U.S. retailers to speed up the import of goods from China, Asia's largest economy to avoid new tariffs and ensure they have adequate supplies for the winter holidays.
Executives say nervous importers pushed forward shipments into the Port of Los Angeles that would normally arrive later in the year into July due to uncertainty surrounding the U.S.-China trade fight and looming tariffs proposed on a variety of imported consumer products. As a result, the surge in goods coming in has exacerbated the already tight availability of warehouse space close to the LA/Long Beach port complex.
"What we've seen in real time is that many inventories are starting to be pulled forward," said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, the busiest container port in North America. "Our July numbers were off the charts. The cargo is flying at us now." Importers are bringing in goods from China at a "much, much quicker" pace to get ahead of any potential trade impacts. He said that trend applies to goods for the back-to-school, fall fashion and year-end holiday seasons. The products coming in quicker include everything from apparel and footwear to toys, electronics and furniture. There's also been movement of consumer goods earlier than normal for the spring fashion season.
The twin Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex handles about 40 percent of the nation's containerized import trade with China. Bringing goods in sooner at the LA port complex has added to demand for warehouse space in Southern California to store some of those consumer products. Warehouse space is starting to dry up.