U.S. Container Import Volume Increases in September, Defying Seasonal Decline
U.S. container import volume unexpectedly rose slightly in September compared to the previous month, contrary to the typical decline seen in the last third of the year, according to the latest Global Shipping Report released by Descartes Systems Group (Nasdaq: DSGX) (TSX:DSG) on Monday.
U.S. container import volumes in September increased by 0.3% compared to August, reaching a total of 2,203,452 TEUs. Compared to September 2022, TEU volume was slightly lower by 0.6%, but marked an increase of 8.0% from the pre-pandemic September 2019 levels.
The growth in import volume over the first nine months of 2023 is now within 2.5% of the same period in 2019.
Descartes’ report highlights that imports from China saw a notable increase, contributing to a larger share of Chinese imports in the total U.S. imports. Interestingly, despite the rise in volume, port transit times for the top West Coast ports remained close to their lowest levels since Descartes began tracking them. However, the top East and Gulf Coast ports experienced extended transit times.
While the Panama drought does not seem to be impacting U.S. container import volume, it has led to increased transit times. According to the logistics metrics tracked by Descartes, there are some deviations from the 2019 results and indications that certain key challenges to global supply chain performance in 2023 have stabilized, while others have not.
Commenting on the unexpected increase, Chris Jones, EVP Industry Descartes, stated, “The September increase in U.S. container imports defies the traditional fall decline observed over the past six years, and imports from China played a significant role in these results. While the Panama drought does not seem to be affecting Gulf Coast port volumes, port transit times are beginning to extend.”
Descartes’ report coincides with the latest data from the National Retail Federation, which revealed that September imports are projected at 1.94 million TEUs, a slight decrease from the 1.96 TEUs imported in August. It is important to note that the NRF’s figures for September are not yet final.
Weekly Insights from the Helm
Dive into a sea of information with our meticulously curated weekly “Dispatch” email. It’s more than just a newsletter; it’s your personal maritime briefing.
Be the First
Join the 104,589 members that receive our newsletter.
Have a news tip? Let us know.
Why Join gCaptain Club?
Be Informed: Stay updated with the latest maritime news and trends.
Connect: Network with a community of maritime professionals and enthusiasts.
Gain Insights: Receive exclusive content and personal perspectives from our CEO.Sign Up