The Trump administration’s appetite for renegotiating trade agreements will go a long way towards shaping future movement in both imports and exports.
As the US started pulling out from the Trans Pacific Partnership, there is a possibility that it may do the same with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to Fitch Ratings.
Emma Griffith, Fitch Ratings Director, said that such a decision “is likely to lead to changes to import and export volumes along with the trade routes, though such impacts are not likely to materialize until next year at the earliest.”
After experiencing a strong year in which ports on both coasts saw overall growth, the US ports are positioned for another solid year of growth in 2018, Fitch informed.
“Moving to larger ships and implementing operational alliances have helped drive volume growth on both coasts in 2017,” Griffith said, adding that overall volume growth averaged 7.7% on the East Coast and 6.3% on the West Coast.
Another notable development is how the expanded Panama Canal will influence cargo levels and shipper route planning. East Coast ports did see marginally higher growth in 2017 as compared with their West Coast peers.
Also likely to improve prospects for the East Coast is New York and New Jersey’s air draft restrictions, which have recently been removed with the raising of the Bayonne Bridge. Meanwhile, other ports are pursuing dredging improvements for required 47-foot to 50-foot depths.