In September, U.S. container import volume increased slightly compared to August, which is counter to the decline that typically occurs in the last third of the year, according to research from Descartes Systems Group.
“The September increase in U.S. container imports bucked the traditional fall decline that has occurred for the previous six years and imports from China were a large contributor to the September results,” says Chris Jones, EVP industry Descartes. “The drought in Panama does not appear to be affecting Gulf Coast port volumes; however, port transit times are starting to extend.”
- Imports from China increased, as did the share of Chinese imports of total U.S. imports.
- Despite the volume increase, port transit times remained close to their lowest levels for the top West Coast ports since Descartes began tracking them.
- The top East and Gulf Coast ports, however, are seeing extended transit times.
- The Panama drought does not appear to be impacting U.S. container import volume, but transit times have increased.
- The October update of the logistics metrics Descartes is tracking shows some deviation from 2019 results and signs that some of the key challenges to global supply chain performance in 2023 have stabilized, but others have not.
- The growth in import volume over the first nine months of 2023 is within 2.5% of the same period in 2019.