Zepol reports February imports hit highest level in four years

Data recently released by Zepol, a trade intelligence firm, indicated the United States-bound containerized vessel imports were mixed for the month of February, with imports down sequentially and up annually.

By ·

Data recently released by Zepol, a trade intelligence firm, indicated the United States-bound containerized vessel imports were mixed for the month of February, with imports down sequentially and up annually.

Acording to Zepol, imports fell 5 percent from January and were up 15 percent compared to January 2012. The firm reported that February’s container count came in at more 1.4 million TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit), with shipments above 720,000, hitting levels for February imports that have not reached this level since 2009.

Zepol said this also was the case with January’s import numbers, stating that import levels appear to be closely resembling those seen before the recession.

“Total imports for January and February of 2013 are almost 7% higher compared to the same time last year,” said U.S. trade expert and CEO of Zepol Paul Rasmussen in a statement. “It will be interesting to see if this holds true for the remainder of quarter one as the data for March comes in. We may be looking at a stronger year for imports than expected.”

This data matches up well with recently released February data from the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, whom both posted strong February import data.

POLB imports, which are primarily comprised of consumer goods, were up 45.8 percent annually at 279,144 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units), and exports. And at POLA February imports at 318,547 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) TEU—increased 25.23 percent.

Officials at both ports cited the timing of the Lunar New Year and an improving housing market as two of the main driver for strong February data.

The recent edition of the Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates noted that said 1.33 million TEU were handled in January for the ports followed by Port Tracker, marking a 0.8 percent gain from December 2012 and a 3.7 percent gain compared to January 2012. This is the most recent month for which data is available. The ports surveyed in the report include: Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Tacoma, Seattle, Houston, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, and Savannah, Miami, and the recent addition of Fort Lauerdale, Fla.-based Port Everglades.

The report is calling for the first six months of 2013 to hit 8 million TEU, which would be a 4.3 percent annual improvement. For all of 2012, the total TEU count was 15.8 million TEU, marking a 2.9 percent annual bump.

“GDP is really barely holding on there, but at least it is positive and sustainable,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett told SCMR. “Unemployment is showing some gradual improvement, too. It is all positive but not outstanding. There will be some growth over the next six-to-eight months, but it will not be dramatic. It is better than it is in Europe, where things continue to decline.”

Year-to-date, Hackett said things appear to be meeting expectations, aided by the fact that economic growth in the first half of 2012 was weak.

Zepol pointed out that the February 2012 to February 2013 “import surge” mostly was due to the exports from Asia and Europe, which had annual increases of 20.8 percent and 8 percent, respectively, with China up 34 percent. And it also observed that imports was Germany and the Netherlands were up 18.3 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively, from January to February.

Regarding carrier activity, Zepol said that Maersk Line TEU volume increased 7.7 percent from January to February and was up 9 percent annually, with APL and MSC rounding out the top three, falling 14 and 1 percent respectively from January to February and up 13.8 percent and 20.2 percent, respectively, annually.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

TEU · Zepol · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
eBook: Why Multi-Tier Supplier Collaboration is More Important Now
Explore the benefits of supplier collaboration including sharing demand forecasts, faster reactions to demand or capacity changes and well-coordinated product launches.
Download Today!
From the September 2017 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
While Amazon’s recent bid to purchase Whole Foods made mainstream headlines, the e-commerce giant will still need to adhere to time-tested realities. Any way you slice it, the integrated U.S. cold chain requires optimized service from existing ports, 3PLs, cold storage warehousing, transportation providers and high-value vendors.
Improving 3PL Management: Glanbia Adds Muscle to Logistics
Why Retail Supply Chain Transformations Fail - and how to get it right
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
EDITORS' PICKS
26th Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends: Transportation at Digital Speed
While a majority of companies strongly agree that transportation is a strategically important...
34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Winners Revealed
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and North American ports have crossed the service...

2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...