The Influence of Oil Price on Maritime Routing of Containerized Imports from China

United States West Coast ports (USWCP)have long been the principal gateway for container imports originating in Northeast Asia and destined for the Eastern United States. However, West Coast ports are losing market share to US Gulf and East Coast ports (USG&ECP). The purpose of this study is to establish a baseline for the influence oil price has on the routing of containerized imports from Northeast China. This study investigates the role oil prices may have played in the observed cargo shift. Logistic regression is used to predict the proportion of containerized imports from China shipped on the all-water route directly to USG&ECP based on trade data published by the US Census Bureau. The model employs three predictor variables: oil price, US West Coast labor strife and railroad rates. The model suggests oil price is positively correlated with the proportion of containerized imports from China shipped to USG&ECP and that oil price has a greater influence on the proportion of low value goods than high value goods shipped on the all-water route. Sensitivity tests based on model parameters are preformed to evaluate how future volatility in oil markets might influence maritime routing of containerized imports from China to the United States. This article presents a statistical modeling approach to explain the observed shift of containerized imports from United States West Coast Ports to USG&ECP.


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  • Accession Number: 01350715
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 29 2011 6:05PM