Alaskan Fish, Ores Hit By The U.S.-China Trade War — Panjiva


Alaskan Fish, Ores Hit By The U.S.-China Trade War

Ags - Forestry 103 Ags - Meat/Dairy 149 China 1930 Materials - Metals/Mining 518 Tariffs 1318 U.S. 3582

The state of Alaska has a significant exposure from the U.S.-China trade war, with the fisheries industry already suffering according to local press reports. China represented 21.0% of all Alaskan exports in 2018, Panjiva analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows – and as much as 34.1% of industrial exports as outlined in Panjiva’s research of Aug. 12.

There’s been a marked slump in exports as a result of the imposition of retaliatory duties by China, with imports in 2Q down by 44.3% year over year after a 34.7% drop in 1Q. Yet, that’s been offset by shipments to the rest of the world however with the result that total exports actually increased by 13.0%.


Chart segments exports from Alaska by destination on a monthly and three-month average basis. Calculations based on U.S. Census Bureau data.  Source: Panjiva

The main challenge for Alaska is the lack of diversity in its export mix to China. In the 12 months to Jun. 30 eight product groups (HS-8) accounted for 99.1% of shipments with fish accounting for 69.2% of the total alone. 

Exports of frozen fish – where China represented 38.1% of shipments in the 12 months to Jun. 30 – have fallen by 25.7% year over year while fresh fish saw a 7.9% decline. Leading shippers by sea over the past three years have included Kodiak River, Coastal Villages and Copper River. There was one bright spot with exports of shellfish having increased by 26.4% year over year. 

Outside fisheries the other major export groups were minerals and forestry products. Exports of lead fell 53.3%, leaving China at 28.1% of the total. Shipments of lumber rose 30.7% despite China accounting for 66.4% of the total.


Chart segments exports from Alaska to China by product. Calculations based on U.S. Census Bureau data.  Source: Panjiva

The trade war between the U.S. and China is likely to spread to cover all products, and is taking a toll on shipping operators serving Alaska. Imports by air and sea from China fell 81.9% year over year in 2Q, largely due to a drop in inbound seafreight and specifically refined oil products. 

Airfreight by contrast, led by consumer electronics, increased modestly by 1.7% year over year. In total therefore Alaskan shipping to / from China – including container handling by CMA-CGM’s APL – has fallen by 15.9% year over year in 2Q while airfreight improved by 4.7%. 

Over the past 12 months, however, both have seen a decline with seafreight down 19.0% and airfreight by 1.4%.

Globally however the picture remains bright for Alaska. Total seafreight climbed 14.0% and airfreight by 2.3% with roughly balanced growth in percentage terms between imports and exports.


Chart segments Alaskan trade with China by transportation mode and direction. Calculations based on U.S. Census Bureau data.  Source: Panjiva

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