US import bonanza could extend into 2021 on ‘record’ restocking

No one predicted a U.S. import surge in the middle of a pandemic — but it’s happening. The big question now is: How long can this last? The answer has key implications for ocean spot freight rates and contract renewals, port throughput, and landside volumes for trucking and rail.

Investment bank Jefferies issued an exceptionally bullish report on Wednesday implying that import flows should remain heavy all the way into 2021. Inventory restocking isn’t about to peter out. It’s just getting started, according to Jefferies.

“We are just at the beginning of what is likely to be one of the biggest restocking cycles — if not the biggest inventory restocking cycle — in U.S. history,” maintained Jefferies Chief Economist Aneta Markowska on a conference call held Thursday to discuss the report.

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