Port roundup: Strong annual growth across the board

The Lunar New Year has come and gone, but its impact at U.S. ports has been felt for weeks after the holiday.. Even with the impacts of the Lunar New Year arising at ports across the country in the form of sequential declines in imports, port figures across the board are holding up compared to the previous year.

Across the ports, Lunar New Year’s arrival about two weeks later than in 2023 is causing the sequential dip in volumes.

The Port of Los Angeles led the West Coast ports higher on an...


Descartes: Container import volume trajectory is strong

The container market continued to show strength in March as the pull forward ahead of the Lunar New Year continues to pay dividends at the ports.

According to the monthly report by Descartes, U.S. container import volumes in March climbed by 0.4% from February and over 15% from March 2023. The year-over-year gains can be explained by the timing of the Lunar New Year: This year’s holiday occurred nearly three weeks later than in 2023.

Descartes reported that U.S. container import volumes in...


Port Houston shows import strength in February

The Gulf Coast ports have received a lot of attention in recent years and rightfully so. The ports along the Gulf Coast provided a pressure relief valve of sorts, though they suffered with congestion throughout the pandemic as well.

What separates the Gulf Coast ports from the major East and West Coast ports is the importance that bulk cargo and the industrial sector as a whole play in port volume. At Port Houston, over a third of all tonnage cleared in 2022 was noncontainerized.

Source: Port...


Import demand growth robust leading into Lunar New Year

Chart of the Week: Inbound Ocean TEUs Volume Index – Port of Los Angeles, Port of Savannah, Port of New York/New Jersey, Port of Long Beach  SONAR: IOTI.USLAX, IOTI.USSAV, IOTI.USNYC, IOTI.USLGB

Bookings for twenty-foot equivalent units (IOTI) spiked well above last year’s levels for freight bound for the nation’s top four port complexes heading into Chinese New Year (CNY). 

The IOTI is an index that measures container volumes being booked by departure date from the port of origin, about 15-30...


Port of Los Angeles shines in January

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The Port of Los Angeles’ January import numbers highlight that the inventory glut of 2022 and early...


Why it still feels like a recession for many

Chart of the Week: Inbound Ocean TEUs Index, Outbound Tender Volume Index – USA  SONAR: IOTI.USA, OTVI.USA

Import demand based on bookings of twenty-foot equivalent units heading into the U.S.

(IOTI) remains down compared to two years ago, but only slightly. Truckload tender volumes (OTVI) are down roughly 25% compared to the same period in 2022. These two figures are effective indicators of goods demand in the U.S. This is the perspective of deterioration that many businesses are still coping...


Container shipping outlook 2024: Rising risk of delays, disruptions

The supply chain crisis is long over, but America’s importers still have a lot to keep them up at night as they plan for 2024.  

Two key container shipping “chokepoints” — the Panama Canal and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait in the Red Sea — are simultaneously under threat. Container-line financials are under severe pressure, forcing ever more vessel sailings to be canceled. The dockworkers union serving East and Gulf Coast ports is threatening to strike next October. While freight rates are low,...


US imports dragged down by seasonality, Panama Canal crisis

chart showing imports

The good news for container lines: U.S. imports are still higher than they were before the pandemic. The bad news: This year’s string of month-on-month gains is over. Seasonality, combined with worsening conditions at the Panama Canal, pulled down imports in November — a negative for freight rates.

According to data from Descartes (NASDAQ: DSGX) released Thursday, U.S. ports handled 2,099,408 twenty-foot equivalent units of imports last month, 9% less than in October.

(Chart: Descartes Datamyne)



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