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Panjiva data shows a solid start to 2014 global trade activity

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
February 28, 2014

Global trade activity had a strong beginning to 2014, according to data released by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

Panjiva reported that U.S.-bound waterborne shipments in January—at 1,169,741—were up 9 percent year-over-year and up 7 percent from December to January. This December to January increase topped last year’s -1 percent decrease, with 2012 up 11.5 percent, 2011 up 17 percent, and 2010 down 3 percent. 

And the number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S in January—at 165,531—was up 3 percent annually and up 1 percent from December to January, which was ahead of a 5 percent decline for the same period a year ago, and below a 3 percent gain in 2012 and a 6 percent uptick in 2011, and ahead of a 5 percent drop in 2010. 

These gains were entirely unexpected even though the first quarter months typically represent the low point due to seasonality, as corporate buyers need to see how the holiday season went before gauging how much inventory needs to be accumulated in 2014. With a strong finish to 2013 in terms of shipments, the fact that January kicked off the year in solid fashion was a welcome sign.

“I am very encouraged by the January numbers,” said Panjiva CEO Josh Green in an interview. “In the past, we have seen December to January coming in flat so seeing a healthy level of growth from December to January is positive. I am anxious to see the February numbers to see if the optimism from January holds up.”

Even though the data is positive, Green cautioned that it was affected by Chinese New Year for January and could also impact February data, depending on where it comes in.

This most recent batch of data matches up well with Panjiva’s annual State of Trade survey released earlier this year, which cited a feeling of optimism among corporate buyers early in the new year, coupled with what it observed as an ongoing trend of strong imports over the past six months, which it said could portend as an indicator of improved economic trends in 2014.

“If you look at the overall sentiment among the buying community, there is optimism,” said Green. “And if you look at the data it suggests that it is reflected in people’s buying behaviors so all of that is very good. The one lingering concern, though, is about political wildcards, so we have actually hit a relatively stable stretch when it comes to U.S. budget politics, and we have not seen as much turmoil linger. But there is a concern that political issues could return and what is happening in the Ukraine shows how political instability can pop up quickly.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
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. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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