The recently released CBP Trade and Travel Report for FY 2020 offers some interesting information about the impact of the pandemic and how much disruption we’ve experienced in the last twelve months. Air cargo is up 219%, truck cargo is up 123%, and in total duties collected we’re seeing a 3.5% increase, mostly thanks to the medical shipments of PPE and a booming e-commerce market serving people who are stuck at home. When the vast entertainment industry stopped serving customers in theaters, live event venues, and bars, people stayed home and shopped.

By the Numbers:

Primarily, a substantial portion of the air travel done during the year was halted as a result of restrictions put in place by the pandemic response. Only 62.1 million travelers moved aboard planes, a reduction of 54.2% from 2019. As passenger flights sat grounded, the initial reduction in belly capacity struck fear in the hearts of importers, driving capacity down and prices up.

However, this didn’t deter trade. CBP processed 32.8 million entries worth $2.4 trillion and recouping $74.4 billion in duties, an increase of 3.5%. Though the pandemic did inspire a deferment of $574 million in duties giving assistance to 2,600 importers. In those duties, a significant portion came from trade remedies, breaking down thusly:

  • $900 million Section 201
  • $500 million Section 232 (Aluminum)
  • $1.3 billion Section 232 (Steel)
  • $35.6 billion Section 301
  • $1.8 billion AD/CVD duties

A large part of the responsibility and arguably the most important is the fight against fraud and counterfeit goods, especially during the pandemic. This year alone, the following seizures came specifically from pandemic-related counterfeit goods.

  • 177,356 non-FDA approved Covid test kits were seized in 378 incidents
  • 12,709,390 counterfeit face masks were seized in 352 incidents
  • 38,098 counterfeit chloroquine tablets were seized in 221 incidents

Unfortunately, the pandemic didn’t respect the division of years, so we likely won’t know the full extent of disruptions until we can look back from a distance. As the United States strains under a record influx of imports clogging up ports and crippling the West Coast, the numbers for FY2021 will still reflect the pandemic disruption even though we’ve been at this for a while.

Customs is getting more complicated every day. Staying in compliance should be your top priority. With Mach 1, we’re here to explain what you need to ensure your cargo isn’t subjected to fines and delays because of outdated regulations. We stay up to date with the changing regulations so you can rest easy with Mach 1. To learn more about how Mach 1 can help you navigate these conditions, contact us today.


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