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A worker on a container crane at the Port of Los Angeles

Photo courtesy Port of Los Angeles

Strong Month for U.S. Imports in February

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1501
March 7, 2024

In February 2024, U.S. container import volumes declined 6% from January, but jumped 23.3% when compared to the same month last year, according to the March Global Shipping Report from Descartes Systems Group (Nasdaq: DSGX) (TSX:DSG).

However, these figures may not paint the complete picture. The report noted that the Chinese Lunar New Year, which significantly impacts shipping volumes, fell on different months in 2023 and 2024. Taking this into account, Descartes estimates the actual growth rate to be around 13%.

The report also touched on the impact of global events on shipping. Factors such as the Panama drought and Middle East conflict had less impact than expected on East and Gulf Coast ports, thanks to lower import volumes. However, these ongoing situations, coupled with upcoming labor negotiations at South Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, could still affect global supply chain performance throughout 2024.

February 2024 saw a decrease in U.S. container import volumes by 6.0% from January 2024, with a total of 2,137,724 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). However, compared to February 2023, the volume was higher by a striking 23.3%. Descartes said it is important to note that there are several factors contributing to this significant year-over-year increase, including Leap Year, which added one more day to February 2024, and the shifting dates of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

“February 2024 was a strong month considering its brevity and continues the robust performance that started in January 2024,” said Chris Jones, EVP Industry and Services at Descartes. He pointed out that the Panama drought and the Middle East conflict had less of an effect on transit times in February, and the volume for Gulf Coast ports remained constant compared to January.

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