Business, Freight News, Sea

Monthly Imports to Top 2 Million TEUs

[ June 5, 2024   //   ]

Monthly inbound cargo volume at the nation’s major container ports should consistently be above 2 million 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, through this summer and into early fall, according to the Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“We haven’t seen numbers this high for this many months in almost two years,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy. “Regardless of what headlines about the economy might say, consumers are shopping and retailers are making sure they have merchandise on hand to meet demand. The supply chain has adjusted to recent disruptions and retailers will work to keep the flow of goods moving smoothly as the back-to-school and holiday seasons approach.”
“Even with a shift in spending from goods to services, U.S. consumers continue to spend on goods,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said, noting a recent downturn in containerized products like furniture, clothing and electronics. “We are still seeing a strong volume of goods flowing into ports despite global geopolitical turmoil, high interest rates and a slowdown in economic growth. There has been a surge of container imports on all three coasts, with the strongest being the Gulf, followed by the Pacific and the East Coast. The issue now is whether this surge will continue or level off.”
U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.93 million TEUs in March, the latest month for which final numbers are available. That was down 1.4 percent from February but up 18.7 percent from March 2023, when Asian exports were slow after Lunar New Year shutdowns.
Global Port Tracker projected April at 1.96 million TEUs, up 10 percent year over year. May is forecast at 2.06 million TEUs, up 6.8 percent year over year to tie last October for the highest level since 2.26 million TEU in August 2022. June is forecast at 2.03 million TEUs, up 10.7 percent from the same month last year; July at 2.02 million TEU, up 5.5 percent; August at 2.1 million TEUs, up 7.1 percent, and September at 2.04 million TEUs, up 0.5 percent.
Monthly volume has reached the 2 million TEUs mark only twice since a 19-month streak that ended in October 2022.
The first half of 2024 is expected to total 11.9 million TEUs, up 13 percent from the same period last year. Imports during 2023 totaled 22.3 million TEUs, down 12.8 percent from 2022.

Monthly volume has reached the 2 million TEUs mark only twice since a 19-month streak that ended in October 2022. PHOTO: Port of Long Beach