"The lower August numbers could be due to early holiday purchases in July, which saw abnormally high TEU numbers," says Zepol's CEO Paul Rassmussen, "but may also have to do with the potential for labor strikes at East Coast ports from the International Longshoremen's Association and United States Maritime Alliance."
At the same time, there is speculation that the strike will not affect import volume and that September will be a major month for U.S. imports. Zepol's U.S. Customs data shows that TEU imports for the 12 days in September are 10-percent higher than the 12 days of September in 2011.
A Closer Look at U.S. Imports for August:
1. Exporting Countries - The majority of Asian countries saw a drop in shipments to the United States from July to August. China decreased in TEUs by a small 0.59%, but South Korea and Singapore each had a much steeper drop of over 10%. On the other hand, Germany and Italy, the two largest European exporting countries to the United States, both saw an increase in TEUs to the United States by 1.9% and 3.4%, respectively.
2. U.S. Ports - Seven of the top ten U.S. ports posted decreases in TEU imports for August. The Port of Los Angeles, the busiest U.S. port so far this year, decreased from July by 3.9% and the Port of Oakland had a similar story for August with a 7% decrease in TEU volume. The Port of Savannah, however, had a fairly significant increase in imports from July by 7.6% and was the United States' fourth busiest port in August.
3. Carriers -Many VOCCs (vessel-operating common carriers) were down in TEU imports from July to August. Maersk Line had a dip of 5.6% and APL Group also decreased in imports by 3.6%. Three of the top ten VOCCs had an increase in shipments, including Mediterranean Shipping Company which rose 7% and Evergreen Line which was up 3%.
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. 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.
Source: Zepol Corporation
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