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Good news for America’s Ports. Cranes removed from US tariff list (for now)

Spectators crowd a pier as they watch a Chinese ship carrying giant cranes approach the entrance to Hampton Roads in Hampton, Va., Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. The four new ship- to-shore cranes are part of the $320 million expansion of Virginia International Gateway. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

PortandTerminal.com, August 15, 2019

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has removed ship-to-shore cranes and shipping containers from a list of $300 billion in goods subject to tariffs on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, 2019, a victory that will save ports and shippers millions of dollars

AAPA’s position on tariffs

Photo: Former AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. Kurt recently retired and has been replaced by Christopher J. Connor, the former global CEO of Wallenius Wilhemsen Logistics

On June 21, former AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle testified as part of a panel organized by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) about the significant consequences of expanded tariffs on ship-to-shore cranes.

He made the point that, at a cost of up to $14 million per crane, an additional 25 percent tariff, which the President had earlier threatened to impose, would significantly increase the cost of each crane and reduce the ability of ports to make other needed infrastructure investments to improve the supply chain. His testimony also expressed AAPA’s overall concerns about tariffs.

Ports have no option but to buy cranes from China

There are only two primary manufacturers of ship-to-shore cranes: Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (ZPMC) and Konecranes. ZPMC is a Chinese company and Konecranes is a Finnish company but manufactures many of the cranes in Shanghai, China.

“There is no domestic source for these cranes and, indeed, there is no manufacturing facility for these cranes except in China.” 

U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer

Port CEO’s concerns with tariffs on Chinese crane purchases

Photo of Georgia Port Authority CEO, Griff Lynch
File photo: Georgia Ports Authority CEO, Griff Lynch

Over the past several months, CEOs at a number of America’s leading ports have expressed concern about the impact of the tariffs on crane purchases that had been placed at their ports.

In June of this year, Griff Lynch, Executive Director at Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) warned that the Trump administration’s latest round of proposed Chinese tariffs could cost the state’s ports almost $18 million.

Georgia wasn’t the only port state that was asking for relief from the proposed tariffs. South Carolina recently raised similar warnings about levying duties on cranes – the state’s ports authority said a 25 percent tariff could cost them some $36 million, according to The Charleston Post and Courier.

Photo: MassPort CEO Lisa Weiland

MassPort’s new CEO Lisa Weiland had also sounded the alarm. “These cranes are only manufactured in China, and there are no alternatives,” she told the Boston Herald during an interview. The new Trump tariffs on their crane would have cost MassPort millions.

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