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
The Internet of Things and the Modern Supply Chain
Learn today how the internet of things is transforming supply chain operations.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Issue
As the new administration sends waves of uncertainly through the global trade community, this could be the best time ever for shippers to build an investment case for GTM. Here are five trends you need to watch if you’re about to put these savvy systems to work
Carrier Consolidation Keeps Shippers Guessing
Getting Value from the Cloud
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Advance your career with the fastest growing logistics certification – APICS CLTD
During this webcast presenters will give an overview of APICS and the new Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) designation. Learn how the CLTD program can help you stay on top of current trends and advance your career.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...

Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...
Making the TMS Decision: Ariens Finds Just the Right Fit
The third time is the charm for this U.S. manufacturer on the hunt for a third-party logistics (3PL)...