What downturn? US imports still rising, highest since boom

chart of imports volumes

American consumers just keep on spending — and the volume of containerized imports keeps on rising. October import numbers released Tuesday by Descartes came in exceptionally strong.

The U.S. imported 2,307,918 twenty-foot equivalent units of containerized goods last month, according to Descartes Systems Group (NASDAQ: DSGX), which obtains its data from customs filings. That’s up 3.9% year on year and 4.7% compared to September.  

(Chart: Descartes. Data: Descartes Datamyne)

Imports have surged...


Port Houston’s Export Triumph Amidst Challenges

Credit: pymnts/Unsplash

Port Houston has once again experienced a significant increase in loaded exports through its Bayport and Barbours Cut Container Terminals,says an article published on port houston website.

September Export Surge

Port Houston experienced a record-breaking increase in loaded exports during September, marking a significant milestone in its history. Handling 124,739 loaded export TEUs, this surge, a 21% increase compared to the same period in 2022, is primarily attributed to...


East Coast vs. West Coast: More imports shift back to Pacific ports

chart of spot rates to ports by coast

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In the perennial tug-of-war between West Coast and East Coast ports, the momentum has shifted yet...


US container imports still rising, topping pre-COVID levels

There has been no shortage of doom and gloom about the “plunge” in U.S. imports this year. And yet, the numbers still don’t show anything to be particularly gloomy about.

U.S. imports have been rising month on month since February. They were up sequentially yet again in September, according to data released Tuesday by Descartes Systems Group (NASDAQ: DSGX).

Descartes said the U.S. imported 2,203,452 twenty-foot equivalent units in September. That’s up 0.3% versus August and up 27% from the low...


US container imports rise in line with pre-COVID peak season pattern

chart of imports

Container shipping spot rates in the trans-Pacific trade started to rise in late June and remain near their highs for 2023. The question is: How much of this rate gain is driven by peak season demand, and how much by shipping lines intentionally constraining capacity?

U.S. import numbers confirm that at least some of this rate gain is demand-driven.

On Monday, Descartes reported that U.S. ports imported 2,196,268 twenty-foot equivalent units in August, up 0.4% from July and 5.5% from June. This...


July import volumes continue to mirror pre-COVID ‘normal’

chart of import volumes

“Imports still plunging, down 14% year on year” sounds alarming for the U.S. economy. But July’s percentage drop is an artifact of the COVID-driven import boom, a one-off event that ended in late 2022 that is no longer news.

“Imports unchanged versus pre-pandemic levels” is a less dramatic headline with no double digits, ominous undertones or “plunging” involved. Yet that is the real news: The volume of containerized imports to the U.S. is normal and healthy. There is no sign yet in the import...


US containerized imports still outpacing pre-COVID levels

chart showing imports volumes

Where is the U.S. recession economists and pundits have been predicting for the past year? There’s no evidence of a recession yet in containerized imports, which continue to track — and remain slightly above — the pre-COVID “normal.”

Descartes reported Monday that imports at all U.S. ports totaled 2,081,793 twenty-foot equivalent units in June, up 6% from June 2019, pre-pandemic. Imports during the first half of this year topped 2019 levels by 2%. Last month’s imports were up 20% from the recent...


US imports up again in April as market mirrors pre-COVID ‘normal’

a chart showing volume of imports

Amid all the doom and gloom on container shipping and the talk of an impending recession, U.S. imports are rising off their lows. Inventory-to-sales ratios are still much higher than pre-COVID, yet monthly imports are now either at or above 2019 levels, depending on which data source you use.

U.S. ports imported 2,020,197 twenty-foot equivalent units of containerized cargo in April, Descartes said on Monday.

(Chart: Descartes. Data source: Descartes Datamyne)

That’s down 18% from a year ago,...


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