Florence Presents Goods Flow Challenges For Daimler, Gildan — Panjiva
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Florence Presents Goods Flow Challenges For Daimler, Gildan

Cons. Discr. - Autos 661 Corp - Ports 661 Mode - Containerized 1005 Mode - Seaborne 1273 Theme - Disasters 60 U.S. 3297

The National Hurricane Center has flagged that Hurricane Florence is now a category four storm that could make landfall from 9/12 onwards in North Carolina. That would be the most significant storm to make U.S. mainland landfall so far in 2018. The most recent, TS Gordon, had a relatively minor impact with port closures at Mobile and Gulfport as outlined in Panjiva research of September 5. The U.S. Coast Guard has already set warning conditions for the port of Charleston (SC) according to local press reports while Wilmington (NC) is continuing to monitor the situation.

The challenge from hurricanes is exacerbated by their arrival during the peak shipping season, though typically even major events, including Hurricane Irma in early September 2017 and Matthew in early October 2016, can be recovered from within a matter of days rather than weeks. In both instances the recovery was quick enough that in both those months there was still a marked growth in inbound shipments handled – by 6% in October 2016 and 12% in September 2017, Panjiva data shows – despite the hurricane disruptions.

CHARLESTON HAS RAPIDLY RECOVERED FROM HURRICANES

Chart shows seaborne imports to the port of Charleston. Lower panel indicates change vs. a year earlier.   Source: Panjiva

One caveat though is that the ports have become increasingly busy each year, leaving less room for error in maintaining and recovering services. That may be a particular challenge for the automotive industry with its just-in-time production processes that are the leading user of Charleston’s services.

In the past 12 months the leading users of the port were Daimler’s Mercedes (44.4k TEUs or 3.8% of all containerized volumes), tiremaker Michelin (24.1k TEUs) and BMW (22.6k TEUs). Other significant exposures among consumer goods include Adidas, La-Z-Boy and Samsung Electronics.

In the case of Wilmington NC the largest consignees relying on the port include Gildan (clothing with 4.8k TEUs shipped) and Caterpillar (2.2k TEUs of construction equipment and parts).

CAN GERMAN CARMAKERS WEATHER THE STORM?

Chart segments seaborne imports to the port of Charleston by the top 20 consignees in the past 12 months by product, denominated in TEUs.  Source: Panjiva

Update (9/10): Report updated to reflect Florence’s category 4 status.

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