May has the highest import volume so far for 2012 and nearly matched the imports of August of 2011, last year's top month. August tends to be the peak month for U.S. imports, so there is potential for more growth further down the road this summer.
A Closer Look at U.S. Imports this Month
1. Exporting Countries - U.S. imports from China, measured in TEUs, rose once again in May by 8.4% and are up from May of 2011 by 2.2%. Imports from Europe were down last month, but have risen in May by 3.7%. The climb in imports was mainly seen from Germany, the top European exporting country to the United States. Germany increased in TEU exports by 4% in May from April.
2. U.S. Ports - Most U.S. ports saw a rise in TEU imports in May with large spikes coming from the ports of Long Beach, Seattle and Houston. Long Beach, the United States' second-largest port, had a TEU import increase of 12% from April, but its imports are down from last May by 8%. The Port of Seattle saw a rise of 10.4% in May, moving from 69,000 TEUs processed to over 77,000. The Port of Houston had the largest spike in imports of any of the top 20 ports with a surge of 26.5% from April.
3. Carriers -The top VOCC, Maersk Line, stayed roughly the same in TEUs from April, with a slight rise of 0.4% in May. Unlike Maersk, Evergreen Line, the number three carrier for May, had a dramatic increase of 14%. Other carriers with noteworthy TEU hikes were Hanjin Shipping Company and China Ocean Shipping Company which rose from April by 17.9% and 26.9%, respectively.
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 vessel goods. The data excludes shipments from empty containers, excludes shipments labeled as freight remaining on board, and may contain other data anomalies.
Source: Zepol Corporation
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