Port of Cleveland import and export activity rose by 10pc in 2019 over the previous year, due in large part to increased Canadian business.
Imports, including steel—a primary import material—from the European Union declined by approximately 35pc, according to the Port, because of the 25pc steel tariff imposed by the US government in mid-2018. Although the tariffs were intended to bolster US manufacturing, it led to steel manufacturing employment cuts.
A Federal Reserve report dated Dec 23, 2019, noted steel producers’ selling prices decreased because demand softened, resulting in worker cutbacks and reduced hours for permanent employees. However, other manufacturing sectors’ selling prices were stable in 2019, the report also revealed.
Steel manufacturing industries were projected beneficiaries of the tariffs, because domestic production was supposed to increase after low-priced imports resulted in decline. Instead, the retaliatory tariffs caused the price of raw steel, and other costs, to rise, hurting US businesses and affecting the global supply chain in the process.
The Port, which averages 13mn nt (11.8mn mt) of annual cargo, responded by turning to Canadian barge business, which was partially shielded under the North American Free Trade Agreement and has since, been replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The Port is run by Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.