US ports hit by further drop in inbound containers

Photo: Port of Seattle

The ten largest ports in the United States have reported a record 32.2 per cent decrease in inbound containers for the month of March 2023, a further decrease from the 27.6 per cent decline from February and marking the sixth straight month of double-digit container volume declines.

Shipping analyst John D. McCown said ports along the West Coast posted a decline of 35.4 per cent whereas those on the East and Gulf Coasts saw volumes drop by 28.8 per cent. However, March 2023 saw overall inbound volumes reach 1,513,662 TEUs, marking the second lowest monthly inbound TEU figures since March 2020.

McCown said data revealed a number of ports showing strong performance in March despite the continued decrease. The top three are Houston, Savannah, and Norfolk, with decreases of 12.2, 19.4, and 29.3 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile the three ports with the largest declines in the same month are New York, Seattle/Tacoma, and Oakland, with 38.2, 37.2, and 36 per cent, respectively.

McCown said that there had been a shift of inbound volumes towards East Coast ports, though unresolved labour situations along the West Coast remain a factor in the reported decrease. He nonetheless clarifies that although the US is experiencing a freight recession, it remains too early to conclude whether it predicts a broader economic recession.

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