ATLANTA, Georgia, January 8, 2024 – Descartes Systems Group (Nasdaq: DSGX) (TSX:DSG), the global leader in uniting logistics-intensive businesses in commerce, released its January Global Shipping Report for logistics and supply chain professionals. In December 2023, U.S. container import volume increased 0.4% from November 2023. The slight aggregate increase masks counter intuitive swings in volume at West, East and Gulf Coast ports. The top East and Gulf Coast ports saw increases, while the top West Coast ports saw decreases. The Panama drought did not appear to impact U.S. container import volume at East and Gulf Coast ports in December, but port delay times increased particularly at Gulf Coast ports. The Middle East shipping attacks escalated in December, but container import volumes do not appear to have impacted December. The January update of the logistics metrics Descartes is tracking shows container import volume consistent with seasonal import patterns but signs that global supply chain performance will be under pressure in 2024 because of the conditions at the Panama and Suez Canals and upcoming labor negotiations.
December 2023 U.S. container import volumes increased 0.4% from November 2023 to 2,107,012 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) (see Figure 1). Versus December 2022, TEU volume was higher by 9.2%, and up 10.6% from pre-pandemic December 2019. The growth in import volume for all of 2023 is within 4.6% of the same period in 2019, but down 11.7% versus 2022.
Figure 1. U.S. Container Import Volume Year-over-Year Comparison
Source: Descartes Datamyne™
“December was a solid month and it’s fair to say that U.S. import container volume over the year was beyond what the market anticipated last January,” said Chris Jones, EVP Industry Descartes. “The impact of the drought in Panama did not appear to impact Gulf Coast ports volumes in December, but transit times did grow considerably in the region. Now we have the conflict in the Middle East affecting transit through the Suez Canal and U.S import container import volumes could be impacted starting in January.”
The December report is Descartes’ twenty-ninth installment since beginning its analysis in August 2021. To read past reports, learn more about the key economic and logistics factors driving the global shipping crisis, and review strategies to help address it in the near-, short- and long-term, visit Descartes’ Global Shipping Resource Center.
Descartes (Nasdaq:DSGX) (TSX:DSG) 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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