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Breakbulk April 2018

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10 The Journal of Commerce | April 2018 Breakbulk & Project Cargo characteristics and can't switch suppliers quickly. But Lyons said that in addition to inviting retaliation, the proposed tariffs could make US exports cost- lier and less competitive. "It could drive up manufacturing costs for many products, including the auto- motive industry that is so important to my state," he said. Several port officials cited President George W. Bush's 2002 temporary tariffs on a list of products that was more limited than the across-the-board tariffs Trump initially proposed. Trump later said his tariffs, which he said were imposed to protect US national security, would be waived for Canada and Mexico if they agreed to conditions in renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Dennis Rochford, president of the Delaware River Maritime Exchange, said ports in his region last year han- dled 231 vessels carrying 4 million tons of steel cargoes. "Ship agents, brokers, pilots, tugboat operators, warehouses, truckers, dockworkers, and others involved in the transportation chain will all experience an equally adverse impact if these proposed restrictions are implemented," he said. Roger Guenther, executive director at Port Houston, which handled 3.7 million tons of steel last year, said past tariffs have hurt cargo volume, and that he hoped the tariff steel imports are moved up the Mississippi River on barges. Many of these barges return with southbound shipments of bulk grain for export. Nearly 60 percent of US grain exports move though export elevators along the lower Mississippi River, chiefly in the Port of South Louisiana between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. "Without those barges moving upriver, the cost to transport US grain increases, making US agricultural products less competitive with those in other producing countries like Brazil and Russia," Bobby Landry, the Port of New Orleans' chief commer- cial officer, testified at a Commerce Department hearing last July. Steel and grain shipments also have a symbiotic relationship in other port regions, including the Pacific Northwest and the Great Lakes, where carriers balance bulk grain backhauls with steel imports in order to make the round-trip voyage profitable. A Martin & Associates report released last year by the American Institute for International Steel said steel tariffs could reduce the number of ships available to carry US grain exports and generate a "ripple effect" on agriculture that costs thousands of US jobs. The co-chairs of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, a joint venture between the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, joined ports on other coasts in warning of retaliation. "We support vigorous enforcement of fair trade laws and a level playing field, but this reckless approach puts too many people and industries in the economic crosshairs," said Courtney Gregoire, Port of Seattle commission president. "Washington farmers export 80 to 90 percent of their wheat, and so we are deeply reliant on foreign markets to ensure the success of our state's growers," said Mike Miller, former chair of the Washington Grain Commission and current chairman of the US Wheat Associ- ates. "Our product is an easy target for retaliatory tariffs, which not only have the potential to reduce sales to overseas partners, but also disrupt long-term relationships that have taken years to cultivate." l email: twitter: @JosephBonney issue would be reviewed. "We are concerned that the proposed 25 percent tariff on steel cargo could decrease cargo volumes, cre- ating a detrimental impact on local jobs and the economy," he said. At New Orleans, where steel accounts for more than one-third of the port's general cargo volume, steel imports plunged 46 percent during the year after the 2002 tariffs, which were rescinded after complaints from ports and steel-us- ing manufacturers. During its 2017 fiscal year, New Orleans handled 2.48 million tons of steel imports and 665,154 tons of alu- minum. Brandy Christian, the port's CEO, said steel tariffs would threaten jobs in transportation, would raise prices for US industries, and would invite retaliation against US exports. About 80 percent of New Orleans' "We are concerned that the proposed 25 percent tariff on steel cargo could decrease cargo volumes, creating a detrimental impact on local jobs and the economy." 0.4% 0.5% 0.6% 0.7% 0.8% 0.9% 1.0% 1.1% 1.2% 1.3% 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Steel Aluminum Total Targeted steel and aluminum makes up a growing share of US container imports Source: IHS Markit © 2018 IHS Markit Share of total US TEU import volume of HS codes mentioned in 232 investigation

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