Market Update

Freight Market Update: May 6, 2020

Ocean and air freight rates and trends; customs and trade industry news for the week of May 6, 2020.

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Freight Market News

FMC Requests Relief for Marine Terminals American Shipper reports that the Federal Marine Commission has asked Congress to consider a package, similar to bailouts of domestic airlines, for marine terminal operators to cover costs like annual lease payments to port authorities and increased workplace-safety overhead.

Wearables Increase Safety, Test Privacy The potential of wearables, like RFID-enabled goggles or wristbands, could bring warehouse and factory staff back to work with notifications of safe distances or rising body temperatures. Labor law experts shared concerns with Supply Chain Dive that health or biometric tracking violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and could continue to carve away at privacy.

Meanwhile, this week, Flexport Chief Economist Dr. Phil Levy noted the following economic highlights:

  • US manufacturing shrunk in April, according to two key indices that reported very sharp declines. The IHS Markit PMI showed its biggest contraction on record. Manufacturer confidence hit a series low, and the outlook for output in the coming year turned negative for the first time since the series’ start in 2012.
    • The April ISM Manufacturing Survey found similar trouble. It showed a rate of manufacturing contraction not seen since April 2009. Of their big industrial classifications, transportation equipment and fabricated metal products were the weakest.
    • UK business confidence fell by the most on record in a CFO survey. US consumer confidence has sunk, as well, with an April survey by the Conference Board finding a 27% drop in confidence from March to April, a sharper drop than some analysts had forecast—yet an index of future expectations actually rose 8% over the same period. Initial jobless claims continued to pour in, with 3.84m reported last week. That brings the six week total to over 30 million, out of a US labor force of roughly 163 million (18%).
  • Europe sees a sharp GDP decline as economic output dropped 14.4% in the first quarter of 2020 (annualized rate). The numbers reflect an aggressive, early approach to shutting down major European economies.
    • Spain and France reportedly contracted at annualized rates closer to 20% in Q1.
    • US GDP, in contrast, only fell at a 4.8% annual rate in Q1, but that was still the biggest fall since Q4 2008. That likely undercounts the late-March downturn.

Customs and Trade Updates

Section 301 List 3 Exclusions Granted The USTR issued more product exclusions on the Section 301 List 3 goods. There are two full 10-digit HTS numbers excluded, and 144 specifically prepared descriptions listed on the notice. Just like previous lists, the exclusions apply to the September 24, 2018 implementation date and will remain in effect until August 7, 2020. Last week CBP also sent out a CSMS message reminding the trade community about liquidation extensions and the filing of PSC's and protests for Section 232 and 301 exclusion refunds.

USTR Seeks Comments on Section 301 List 3 Exclusion Extensions The USTR is now requesting comments from the trade community for a possible year extension on the Section 301 List 3 tariffs. The comments are only to be directed to the 11 sets of tariff exclusions that have been granted for the third tranche, which are currently set to expire on August 7, 2020. The comment period opened on May 1 and will remain open until June 8, 2020. Each exclusion will be evaluated individually.

CTPAT Validations Put On Hold CBP posted a notice on their website stating that due to the COVID-19 pandemic 2020 CTPAT validations have ceased for the time being. CBP is working on possible alternative solutions for the validation process, but haven't landed on anything concrete. CBP will review any upcoming deadlines on a case-by-case basis.


For a roundup of tariff-related news, visit Tariff Insider.

Please note that the information in our publications is compiled from a variety of sources based on the information we have to date. This information is provided to our community for informational purposes only, and we do not accept any liability or responsibility for reliance on the information contained herein.

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