U.S. loaded container imports continued to remain strong in September at prominent ports across the nation that have posted their volumes for the month.
In comparison to September 2019, loaded import TEUs this September increased 17.3% at the Port of Los Angeles, 14.3% at Port Houston, 10.6% at the Port of Oakland, 5.6% at the Port of Virginia and 0.3% for the South Carolina Ports Authority, according to data from the relevant port authorities.
The major ports of New York & New Jersey, Savannah, Long Beach and the Northwest Seaport Alliance still had yet to issue their September figures as of the time of writing Thursday.
Gene Seroka, Executive Director at the Port of Los Angeles, reiterated Wednesday during a media briefing that U.S. consumers are focusing more on buying goods rather than services, which is helping to boost the import growth.
Carriers have increased container capacity from Asia to the U.S. over the past year to help support the surge in demand and to take advantage of the strong freight rates.
The illustrated chart, built using BlueWater Reporting’s Capacity Report, illustrates how weekly allocated TEU capacity at the end of this September was higher year-over-year on both the Asia to U.S. East Coast and Asia to U.S. West Coast trades. BlueWater Reporting defines weekly allocated TEU capacity as the amount of deployed capacity it estimates are actually set aside (or allocated) for the trade each week.
The increase in loaded container imports at the above mentioned ports from a year ago helped support their overall loaded container throughput figures, which were generally offset by weaker exports.
The ports of Los Angeles, Houston and the South Carolina Ports Authority all posted a year-over-year decline in loaded export TEUs this September. Although the Port of Oakland posted a 5.0% year-over-year increase in loaded exports this September and the Port of Virginia recorded a 5.5% year-over-year increase in loaded exports during the month, both were smaller percentage increases than their loaded import figures for the month.
Compared to September 2019, total loaded TEUs increased 13.0% this September at the Port of Los Angeles, 2.6% at Port Houston, 8.0% at the Port of Oakland, and 5.6% at the Port of Virginia, according to data from the port authorities. However, South Carolina Ports Authority’s total loaded TEU volumes for the month slipped 0.6% from last September.
Seroka said during the media briefing this week that according to the new Signal tool, a forward-looking data tool of the Port of Los Angeles that’s powered by Wabtec’s Port Optimizer, October volumes in totality at the port are looking very strong, even with the National Holiday week in China and scheduled closures at manufacturing facilities and ports for several days.
“We’re currently estimating October volume to be in the range of 950,000 container units. That compares to about 770,000 just last October,” Seroka said. “Preliminary November data indicates volume above the 800,000-TEU threshold and that also compares favorably to last November that came in at more than 729,000 TEUs.”
Meanwhile, the Port of New York & New Jersey said Thursday, “Currently, projections indicate that container volume will remain strong for the rest of the year.”
Source: Hailey Desormeaux, Bluewater Reporting