An analysis by BIMCO shows that container imports from the Far East to North America surged in February.
Containerized goods from the Far East soared to 1.62 million TEU during February of 2021. That is a 100 percent increase from the low point of the same month year-over-year.
The volumes increased by the US COVID-19 related stimulus programs. Volumes transiting the transpacific trade lane to customers and firms in North America then defied all additional obstacles during a month commonly associated with slow activity.
“If you ask the ports of San Pedro Bay on the US west coast, they will tell you that this massive surge in volumes is a double-edged sword. Record-breaking business activity overloads logistic chains in and around the ports, both ashore and at sea,” says Peter Sand, the chief shipping analyst for BIMCO.
“Additionally, if you ask the liner shipping companies, they will tell you that demand is spectacularly strong, but that it also creates multiple disruptions on their part, especially around the main import ports.”
Record months for ports on the West Coast have provided a similar indication of this 100 percent surge in containerized goods. Sand noted that well before the Ever Given crisis in the Suez Canal, the cargo surge and the existing logjam at major US seaports are also indicators of the surge.
“Due to congestion inside the port areas, the total days at berth can stretch to 10-12 days. A three-week turnaround time, from arrival at the anchor to departing from the terminal, [maybe] the slowest on record too,” Sand says.
While cargo congestion is proving to be problematic, the increase in import volumes are expected to persist through the summer.