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Effects of U.S.-China Trade War: ‘The Proof’s In The Ports’

Effects of U.S.-China Trade War: ‘The Proof’s In The Ports’

U.S. trade with the world is up a sliver this year, 0.47%, down from a slice just a couple months ago.

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, five of the nation’s top 10 ports — five are seaports (with as asterisk), three airports and two border crossings — are showing trade increases, five are showing decreases.

As you will see, the impact of the U.S.-China trade war is far-reaching. Airport and seaport revenue is driven by fees associated with the planes that land and ships that dock. Those fees make our nation’s airports and seaports revenue neutral, as far as I know — meaning they require no taxpayer support. At our nation’s border crossings, revenues derived from bridge usage make them revenue positive, meaning they actually reduce the burden on taxpayers and pay for services.

Among our leading ports, the biggest increase is at the 10th-ranked Port of Savannah, up 8.74%, while the biggest decrease is at No. 5-ranked JFK International Airport, down 5.9%.

Both set records for trade in 2018.

For a look at trade by top countries, click here to read my previous post.

Here’s a recap of where the nation’s top 10 ports stand, as we turn the corner into the second half of the year.

1. The Port of Los Angeles, long ranked as the nation’s top-ranked port among more than 450 airports, seaports and border crossings, is down 3.15% through May, the latest data available. The port is getting hurt by the U.S.-China trade war. China is accounting for 45% of the value of the port’s trade this year — and that’s down from 51% in 2018. Exports leaving the Port of Los Angeles bound for China are down 16.28% while imports from China into the California port are down 10.68%. The Port of Los Angeles is accounting for 6.7% of all U.S. trade this year, down from 7.1% for all of 2018.