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The Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal courtesy Georgia Ports Authority

The Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal courtesy Georgia Ports Authority

U.S. Container Imports Continue to Show Robust Growth Over 2023

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 0
July 10, 2024

U.S. container import volume remained strong in June 2024, with volumes increasing by double-digits compared to the same month last year, according to Descartes Systems Group’s July Global Shipping Report.

However, June’s container import volume declined by 2.1% from May 2024, totaling 2,297,979 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Despite this month-over-month dip, the year-over-year growth of containerized imports stood at 10.4%.

Imports from China remained strong, with a 13.8% increase compared to June 2023, while remaining flat compared to May 2024. Notably, Chinese imports in June 2024 were down 11.2% from the August 2022 peak of 1,003,725 TEUs.

2019-2024 container import volume chart
Chart courtesy Descartes

Port transit delays at most West Coast ports improved, with the Port of Long Beach seeing the greatest improvement by reducing delays by 2.5 days. In contrast, East and Gulf Coast ports experienced marginal increases in delays, with Savannah reporting the largest increase of 1 day.

The improvements come as West Coast ports saw their container import volume share rise to 44.6% in June, while East and Gulf Coast ports saw a decrease to 41.4%.

Despite the strong import performance since the start of 2024, the risk of global supply chain disruptions remains high. The ongoing Middle East conflict and stalled labor negotiations at U.S. South Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports pose significant threats to global trade stability.

“While June volumes dipped slightly from May, they maintained a strong position when compared to 2023 and pre-pandemic 2019 statistics for the same period,” said Chris Jones, EVP Industry, Descartes. “Port transit delays remain lower despite the continued significantly higher container import volumes. However, the potential for trade disruptions remains high with the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and pending ILA contract negotiations.”

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