Total container trade falls in February after January upswing

The total number of shipments also decreased 11.09 percent from January and increased 7.27 percent over last February. Year to date, total TEUs are up 13.24 percent this year over last year.

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Import shipment volume for February, measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) decreased 9.94 percent from January and increased 9.03 percent over February 2010, reported Zepol Corporation, a trade intelligence company.

The total number of shipments also decreased 11.09 percent from January and increased 7.27 percent over last February. Year to date, total TEUs are up 13.24 percent this year over last year.

Among the key statistics from this month’s update, said analysts are that Asian origin volumes fell to levels seen in December 2010, decreasing 11.42 percent from January to February of this year.

Meanwhile, imports from Central America, measured in TEUs, rose 4.88 percent from January to February as fresh fruit imports took an upward turn.

Also of note, said analysts, was that ports on the Atlantic Coast show the greatest increases in volumes for February 2011 over January 2011.

“This has been a trend we’ve been tracking for the past three years,” said Zepol president and CEO, Paul Rasmussen. “More than 50 percent of cargo now coming to the East Coast emanates from Asia.”

In an interview, Rasmussen said that shippers are “building new relationships” with ports in anticipation of the Panama Canal expansion on 2014.

“I was at the AAPA (American Association of Port Authorities) meeting in Tampa not long ago, and learned that shippers may be gradually moving their supply chains to become less dependent on the U.S. West Coast,” he said.

Overall, levels dropped on the Pacific coast with an overall average decrease of 14.15 percent, from January Zepol analysts stated.

Maersk Line continues to hold the top carrier spot, however, it experienced a volume decline of 10 percent from January to February of this year.

Zepol’s data is derived from Bills of Lading entered into the Automated Manifest System. This information represents the number of House manifests entered by importers of waterborne containerized goods. This is the earliest indicator for trade data available for the previous month’s import activity. The data excludes shipments from empty containers, excludes shipments labeled as freight remaining on board, and may contain other data anomalies.

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at pburnson@peerlessmedia.com.

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