Photo courtesy of Port of Long Beach.
Talks of trade and transportation took over the Long Beach Convention Center Wednesday as about 500 people gathered to hear industry experts discuss trends and their effect on the San Pedro Bay port complex during the Port of Long Beach’s 14th annual “Pulse of the Ports Peak Season Forecast.”
Despite talks of a looming trade war that could otherwise stop strong growth in the exchange of cargo between Asia and the United States, some experts felt trade was on the rise.
Mario Moreno, a senior quantitative economist for the maritime research consultancy Drewry, predicted trade between the U.S. and Asia will grow 6.8 percent in 2018, the fastest pace in more than six years. Moreno also estimated the overall U.S. economy will expand 2.8 percent.
Moreno added that while President Donald Trump and China have proposed higher tariffs, an all-out trade war between the two countries appears unlikely.
“Both nations have a lot to lose,” Moreno said. “Consumer prices would certainly go up here in the U.S., and the Chinese government would certainly retaliate by imposing tariffs of their own.”
U.S.-China trade accounts for more than two-thirds of imports and almost one-third of exports at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
“These are challenging but exciting times,” Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum said. “We believe we’re in a good place for continued growth, but we know that there’s going to be game changers coming our way. The purpose of this event is to help us identify, anticipate and answer these challenges.”
A webcast of Pulse of the Port is available, along with the panelists’ presentations, at www.polb.com/pulseports.