COVID-19 boosts drop-shipping, fractional trade means U.S. wins on a technicality

China 2435 Cons. Discr. - Apparel 328 Cons. Discr. - Durables 261 Coronavirus 303 Corp - Forwarders 231 Corp - Ports 758 Corp - Shipping 753 Industrials - Capital Goods 412 Materials - Chemicals 153 Materials - Metals/Mining 602 Mode - Containerized 1193 Mode - Seaborne 1518 Singapore 59 South Korea 480 Trade Balance 829 U.S. 4297 Vietnam 254

The number of U.S. seaborne import shipments surged 13.0% higher year over year in April. That may be counter-intuitive given the economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s due to a 343% surge in the number of smaller, less-than-container load (LCL) shipments coming from China. A rise in LCLs is likely due to increased direct-to-consumer e-commerce, also known as drop-shipping, as well as reduced manufacturing capacity in China for smaller manufacturers despite widespread reopenings of factories. Containerized shipments from China still only fell by 7.7% year ove...

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