ATLANTA, Georgia, April 18, 2023 -- Descartes Systems Group, the global leader in uniting logistics-intensive businesses in commerce, indicated in its monthly Descartes’ Global Shipping Report that over one million import container TEUs moved away from the West Coast ports* annually, and the biggest beneficiary of the shift in import volumes was the Gulf Coast ports.
“Shifts in container import volumes from West Coast ports are top of mind again with the protracted ILWU-PMA contract negotiations,” said Chris Jones, EVP Industry at Descartes. “Descartes’ Global Shipping Report provides insight into how much volume has shifted away from the West Coast ports, where it went, and what were the countries of origin and top commodities that left.”
Descartes analyzed U.S. container import volumes (TEUs) in the first three months of 2019 compared to the first three months of 2023 for insights into the shift away from the West Coast ports. Overall U.S. import container volumes (see Figure 1) are extremely close (0.19% difference) for the first three months of both years, which allows for a reasonable comparison.
Figure 1: U.S. container import volumes (TEUs) for the first 3 months of 2019 and 2023
Source: Descartes Datamyne™
Comparing the first quarter of 2023 to 2019, it is quite evident that there was a significant shift. The West Coast container outflow is quite close to the East and Gulf Coasts container inflow. If we extrapolate the Q1 data over twelve months, the calculation would show that over one million containers moved away from the West Coast ports annually starting in 2021. This also considers March 2023’s significant reversal of the decline in volume that occurred at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
*Data in this report is based on all West, East and Gulf Coast ports.
Descartes is the global leader in providing on-demand, software-as-a-service solutions focused on improving the productivity, security and sustainability of logistics-intensive businesses. Customers use our modular, software-as-a-service solutions to route, track and help improve the safety, performance and compliance of delivery resources; plan, allocate and execute shipments; rate, audit and pay transportation invoices; access global trade data; file customs and security documents for imports and exports; and complete numerous other logistics processes by participating in the world’s largest, collaborative multimodal logistics community. Our headquarters are in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and we have offices and partners around the world. Learn more at www.descartes.com, and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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