Maritime & Trade Blog

JOC insights: US imports of tableware and household articles of plastic

US imports of tableware and other household articles to hit an all-time volume high

US containerized imports of tableware and other household articles grew 3.1 percent in the third quarter, year-over-year, and marked the 16th consecutive year-over-year expansion. The US home sales market continues to recover, which has led to solid demand for imported furniture and other home goods such as tableware, kitchenware, toilet articles, and other household articles made of plastic. A strong dollar also was a contributing factor to the solid demand for these imports, while disposable income improved at a respectable pace.

For all of 2015, I am anticipating the trade will hit an all-time volume high for a total TEU count of approximately 132,216. The 2015 expansion at 3.3 percent, nevertheless, will register the weakest pace in the last 4 years.

Vietnam gains share in the US tableware and household articles imports market, while China loses

By TEU volume, China is by far the largest supplier of tableware and household articles to the US, accounting for 83.2 percent of the market year-to-date through September, but down from 84.6 percent over the same period in 2014, likely owed to high production costs. Inbound shipments from China were only up 3 percent year-to-date. Taiwan follows with a 2.6 percent share year-to-date, up very modestly over the same period in 2014.

Fourth-ranked Vietnam continues to gain sourcing share from 0.6 percent in 2013 to 1.5 percent in 2014 and to 2.3 percent year-to-date. Lower production costs and favorable exchange rates have bolstered the trade. IHS anticipates the Vietnamese dong will decline in value against the US dollar by 2.5 percent this year, marking the 20th consecutive yearly decline. Inbound shipments from Vietnam more than doubled in 2014, and were up a remarkable 83 percent year-to-date.

Port of Savannah gained more inbound traffic of tableware and household articles year-to-date

Year-to-date, from January through September, the Port of Los Angeles handled the most international inbound shipments of tableware and household articles, with a 25 percent share of the trade in terms of TEU volume, unchanged from the same period in 2014. Long Beach followed with a 22 percent share of the trade, down 4 percentage points from the same period in 2014. Savannah handled 7 percent of the traffic, up 2 percentage points from the same period in 2014, thanks to increasing shipments from China.

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About The Author

Mr. Mario O. Moreno is a Senior Economist for IHS Maritime & Trade. ​He joined IHS in December 2014, when IHS acquired JOC Group Inc., a premier provider of US seaborne trade intelligence through data, online content and events. As an economist for JOC Group, he produced reliable and widely-praised trade forecasts — informed by his deep understanding of international trade and transportation market drivers. Mr. Moreno integrates macroeconomic trends into his analysis of crucial shipping data to provide need-to-know intelligence to all sides of the shipping world.

Mr. Moreno's analysis and forecasts are frequently cited by top business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Bloomberg, and speaks regularly at industry events including the annual Trans-pacific Maritime Conference in Long Beach, California.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Global Business from William Paterson University, New Jersey, US, and a master’s degree in Economics from Rutgers University, New Jersey, US.