Global trade activity dipped from January to February, according to Panjiva data

On the heels of a strong beginning to the year for global trade activity in January, February did not follow suit, according to data released this week by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

By ·

On the heels of a strong beginning to the year for global trade activity in January, February did not follow suit, according to data released this week by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

Panjiva reported that U.S.-bound waterborne shipments in February—at 983,482—dropped 16 percent from January and 6 percent compared to February 2013. The steep January to February decline easily eclipsed the 2 percent fall off for the same period in 2013 and was just shy of 2012’s 20 percent decrease and ahead of 2011’s 15 percent drop.

The number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S in January—at 154,468—was down 5 percent annually and also down 7 percent from January to February. The January to February change was up 1 percent in 2013, down 12 percent in 2012, and down 8 percent in 2011.

Panjiva described the respective declines in shipments and manufacturers as a “stark downturn,” adding that is cannot say with certainty what is driving it, whether it is political instability or a fluke.

In an interview, Panjiva CEO Josh Green said that the February fall off could be directly related to the Chinese New Year, which sees manufacturing and trade output ostensibly coming to a halt for up to two weeks each year.

“February typically sees precipitous drops, and this year was no exception,” explained Green.

While February was off, Green said that on a year-to-date basis through February, total shipments are up 1.5 percent annually. 

One of the interesting shifts Panjiva saw, said Green was that March 2013 turned out to be the low point for 2013 global trade activity, which was a shift from previous years which had consistently seen February as the typical low point of the year. But even with this change it Green said it is too early to see if a new pattern will emerge in regards to this development.

“It was surprising last year but could be tied to when Chinese New Year fell,” he said. “But if the pattern holds true again this year, it is worth digging in to see if there is a reason why March would be the new low point.”

Regarding the overall state of global trade, Green noted he is bullish on trade as the year progresses, noting that there was a relatively satisfying end to 2013, which gave corporate buyers and businesses confidence in placing their orders for 2014.

But he added there is also reason to be concerned because of things like political instability, given the situation in the Ukraine.

“If we were to see an increase in tensions and punitive trade measures, you could see that starting to drag on global trade, but as of now it seems like things are OK,” he said. “By and large, we are seeing corporate buyers betting on healthy consumer spending levels.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Global Trade · Manufacturing · Panjiva · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Case Study: LEAN Yields Big Results
Every day, companies across a wide range of industries use LEAN in their supply chains, warehouses and distribution centers, finance departments, and customer service centers, among other areas. LEAN practices improve safety, quality, and productivity by extracting cost and waste from all facets of an operation – from the procurement of raw materials to the shipment of finished goods.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Over the past decade we’ve seen a major trend in regards to safety regulations for freight transport within the United States as well as for import and export shippers—that trend is the “international­ization” of rules and regulations.
European Logistics Update: Post-Brexit U.K. moving ahead, but in which direction?
Badcock Home Furniture &more: Out with paper, in with Cloud TMS
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
How API Technology Connects the Transportation Economy
Dynamic decision making is made possible through accurate, actionable data. When combined with progress in data science and the Internet of Things, technology companies that add value to direct-to-carrier APIs and combine them with high-power data analytics will create new concepts for the information economy.
Register Today!
Motor Carrier Regulations Update: Caught in a Trap
The fed is hitting truckers with a barrage of costly regulations in an era of scant profits....
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...

2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...