Prayers for a fast recovery

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Global & Regional Automotive Sales Volumes Forecasts Under 3 Scenarios 2017-2030 (units)

US Automotive Sales Volume Drop Compared to BAU Under 3 Scenarios 2017-2030 (units)

Europe Automotive Sales Volume Drop Compared to BAU Under 3 Scenarios 2017-2030 (units)

China Automotive Sales Volume Drop Compared to BAU Under 3 Scenarios 2017-2030 (units)

Central & South America Automotive Sales Volume Drop Compared to BAU Under 3 Scenarios 2017-2030 (units)

The signing of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement in March this year removed a degree of trade uncertainty in North America and renewed the positive outlook that a number of ports authorities and terminal operators up and down the Atlantic and Pacific coasts have expressed in increasing volumes through short-sea vehicle shipments.

That positive outlook was quickly overshadowed by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which began to affect the import and export of finished vehicles in the first quarter of 2020 but which really took its toll in the second quarter, with some trade lanes, including those from Europe, coming to a complete halt and vessel calls dropping dramatically. Given how unprecedented and significant the Covid-19 pandemic has been on global trade routes, this year’s review of the North American vehicle handling ports includes both activity in 2019 and in the first half of 2020.

As you can read in the following articles, terminal operators and port authorities have been collaborating with their customers and other outbound logistics providers to deal with the sudden impact of the pandemic by finding additional storage space for vehicles stuck in the pipeline, whether it be in adjacent terminals, offsite storage facilities or on ocean vessels.

One of the main concerns for port operators as manufacturing ramps up again in North America (and globally) is how to maintain a safe working environment for employees while also meeting the demands of renewed throughput and the removal of backed-up inventory.

However, there is an enthusiasm and confidence amongst the port sector for a return to business as usual by the fourth quarter, despite the general slowdown in sales and production in all three North American countries. Many stakeholders spent 2019 adding capacity and improving handling efficiency, often through the use of the latest digital technology, and there have been some redirections in trade on both the east and west coasts of the US to avoid congestion and better serve inland distribution, including through direct rail-to-port links.

It remains to be seen if ongoing trade disputes further afield, such as between the US and China, will unsettle the deep ocean trade in finished vehicles but there are a number of new export trade lanes from the North American region to markets such as the Middle East and North Africa that offer opportunities for the future.

This is the first time the FVL North American ports review has been published as a digital, standalone edition and we hope you find it a more dynamic and focused way of digesting the information within. Please feel free to send us feedback.

Marcus Williams

Senior Content Producer

Finished Vehicle Logistics

Editor Marcus Williams - marcus.williams@automotivelogistics.media

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