U.S. ports are sending warning signals about trade flows in the New Year, says The Wall Street Journal. The first reports from gateways on both coasts suggest container imports turned sharply downward last month, while shipping executives say they are bracing for weak demand in the first part of 2023.
A continuing decline at the Southern California ports deepened in November, with combined imports into Los Angeles and Long Beach plummeting 26% to the lowest level since the start of the pandemic. Inbound volumes at the ports of Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., also retreated.
The figures signal that dockside business is feeling the impact of wavering U.S. consumer demand and weakening China exports.
Container lines and ports usually get a wintertime bump from Lunar New Year volumes out of Asia, but executives aren’t expecting much to celebrate in the coming weeks.
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