North American Ports Runneth Over

North American Ports Runneth Over

With consumer confidence increasing and economies opening, goods are moving through North American ports at an unprecedented rate, with imports through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach swelling 41.1% year over year through the first half of 2021 (see chart).

Delays continue. Due to pent-up demand, major ports such as New York/New Jersey and Los Angeles and Long Beach continue to experience delays. The California ports have seen container ships queuing at rates not seen since the 2020 peak season. This is due to the arrival of ships delayed from South China, new trans-Pacific services, and additional loader vessels.

Shipping costs swell. Container shipping costs from China to the U.S. West Coast ports reached a new high of more than $20,000 per 40-foot container. The increase is partially due to rising COVID-19 cases across the globe, which has slowed container turnaround times.

Robust import volumes. North American ports continued to record robust activity for import cargo volumes, as 13.8 million TEUs were handled year to date mid-year. The surge was fueled by six major ports (Los Angeles, Long Beach, Savannah, Virginia, NY/NJ, and Seattle-Tacoma), each of which exceeded 31% of growth mid-year.

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