US container import volumes in March 2024 have shown impressive growth compared to the same period last year, according to the latest Global Shipping Report by Descartes Systems Group. While there was a modest increase of 0.4 per cent from February 2024, the year-over-year comparison to March 2023 showed a substantial jump of 15.7 per cent.

The report highlights that the total number of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) processed in March 2024 reached 2.15 million which not only represents an increase from the previous month but also a 20.6 per cent rise from the pre-pandemic levels of March 2019. This growth is particularly notable considering the impacts of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which began on February 11 and lasted for a week, potentially suppressing activity in the early part of March.

US container import volumes in March 2024 surged 15.7 per cent year-over-year, reaching 2.15 million TEUs, despite challenges from the Chinese Lunar New Year and ongoing global issues, as per a report.
Growth was notably robust in the latter half of March, overshadowing continued declines from China and potential disruptions at key ports and canals.

However, the latter half of March saw increased activity, suggesting that the initial dip was more a delay than a decline in imports. Descartes’ analysis further isolates the first 15 days of March 2024, comparing it to the same period in 2023, showing an even more robust growth of 22.7 per cent, indicating a surge in import activity once the effects of the Lunar New Year faded, as per the report.

Despite this positive outlook, the report notes ongoing challenges in the global shipping landscape. Continued declines in imports from China due to the New Year festivities were evident with significant volume losses recorded at the Port of Los Angeles for the second consecutive month. Additionally, the logistics industry faces potential hurdles including the ongoing effects of drought in Panama, conflicts in the Middle East, and the anticipated impacts of the recent Baltimore Bridge collapse. These factors have not yet significantly disrupted East and Gulf Coast ports but pose potential risks moving forward.

Moreover, the logistics metrics update from Descartes for April 2024 warns of possible disruptions from upcoming labour negotiations at US South Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports and ongoing conditions at key global transit points like the Panama and Suez Canals.

“Considering declining import volumes from China, March 2024 was a strong month and continues the robust performance that began in January 2024,” said Chris Jones, EVP Industry, Descartes. “Despite the combined effect of the Panama drought and the conflict in the Middle East, port transit delays showed continued improvement across nearly all the top ports, as March volumes at East and Gulf Coast ports remained stable.”

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DP)

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