The spread of COVID-19 created volatile and unpredictable economic conditions that started in March 2020, particularly in global trade. The short-term impact of the pandemic has been staggering, with nearly unprecedented disruptions, delays, and declines. Now, however, as we stand on the precipice of the second half of the year, things are looking up.
US trade activity has recovered sharply from the pandemic, with imports close to a record high. In particular, the import of industrial supplies and material goods has improved significantly after being pummeled by the pandemic in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. Similarly, exports of industrial supplies and materials reached a record high in May. The strong snapback of total imports and total exports in the US suggests a robust second half of 2021.
The prospects for global trade are favorable as well. Much of global trade conditions are dependent on the dissemination of the COVID vaccines, particularly in emerging markets. Furthermore, the global trade industry is still feeling the residual effects of the Suez Canal crisis in its traffic patterns and movement of goods.
The lingering effects of COVID-19 and disasters like the Suez Canal have resulted in widespread concerns about developing more resilient and innovative supply chains. Regardless, the International Monetary Fund Direction of Trade Statistics shows that global trade is back to a record high for the first quarter of 2021, which only improves an already optimistic outlook for the rest of 2021.
While the pandemic wreaked havoc on global and domestic trade, it also radically accelerated technological advancements and productivity trends. E-commerce, which had a meteoric rise in response to the spread of COVID-19, will continue to shape and drive the economy across sectors. As a family-owned company already grounded in leveraging technology to assist our clients better, A Customs Brokerage has continued to embrace and support e-commerce in our own model of operation and that of our clients and partners.
Overall, the forecast for trade throughout the rest of 2021 is a positive one, with relatively rapid continued economic recovery and growth. However, predictions come with a healthy dose of caution due to several factors that have the potential to disrupt our domestic and international road to recovery, including the spread of new COVID-19 variants, low global vaccination rates, and slow recovery processes in specific sectors.
A Customs Brokerage: Your Trusted Partner In Global Shipping & Logistics
The A Customs Brokerage team has been navigating the complex, changing tides of global trade since our start in the 1970s. In the face of uncertainty, we closely monitor our domestic and global economy, innovate and improve our operations accordingly, and advocate for our clients. Our corporate community is looking ahead at the rest of 2021 trade with positivity, optimism, and an unwavering commitment to playing our part in the international shipping and logistics industry.
Our top priority throughout 2020 and 2021 has been and will continue to be, providing the most individualized, transparent, efficient, and accurate global shipping and logistics services to our clients and their businesses. From warehousing and e-commerce services to freight forwarding and trucking logistics, we keep companies running smoothly.
If you and your business need a dedicated partner in logistics, reach out to us today.