There will be no impact on apparel exports from the biggest Atlantic storm to hit the US Gulf Coast, was the unanimous opinion of leaders of garment exporting organisations from various Asian clothing production hubs like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia.
The US East Coast was battered by ‘Sandy’ and states like New York and New Jersey bore the full brunt of the storm, raising apprehensions of a slowdown in new orders and also delays in payments, due to damages to goods lying in ports and warehouses.
The apprehensions among the apparel exporting community are not unfounded, since the US is the biggest importer of apparels in the world and imported garments worth more than US $80 billion or 97 percent of its consumer needs.
Mr. Md. Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin) – President of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) was not perturbed by the development.
He said, “There are more than 50 states in the US, out of which only a few states have been affected by the storm. Secondly, the US is the biggest economy in the world, so the impact will not be much on Bangladeshi apparel exports”.
“US infrastructure is very extensive and good, so incase ports like New York and New Jersey are impacted, cargo traffic will be diverted to other ports. So, I do not apprehend any delay in deliveries too”, he added.
Dr Sakhtivel – Chairman of Apparel Exporters Promotion Council (AEPC) from India too sounded optimistic when he said, “Since the last 10 days, offices of buyers are closed, so I cannot give you any correct feedback, but what I have learnt is that the ports are still open. However, there is no need to raise alarm bells”.
Mr Ade Sudrajat – Chairman of the Indonesian Textile Association (API) thinks they will receive more orders for winterwear since most of the winterwear stocks in warehouses and stores may have been damaged by the storm.
He is also not unduly worried over the impact of the storm as he too feels that only a few states have been impacted from the storm.
“I feel there will be a very marginal impact of Sandy, since though there has been damage, I do not foresee a slowdown of Pakistan apparel exports in the short term”, said the Chairman of Pakistan Readymade Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) - Mr Shahzad Salim.