The value of exports from America's foreign-trade zones (FTZs) increased by 24.8 percent in 2014, to a record $99.2bn in merchandise exported, according to figures released by the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board in its recent Annual Report to Congress. The 2014 export figure also represents a threefold growth of FTZ exports in the five years since 2009.
Following the Panama Canal expansion in 2016, up to 10 percent of container traffic to the U.S. from East Asia could shift from West Coast ports to East Coast ports by 2020, according to research conducted by the Boston Consulting Group and C.H. Robinson. Rerouting that volume is equivalent to building a port roughly double the size of the ports in Savannah and Charleston.
Total intermodal shipments rose 2 percent over last year's Q1 volumes, according to the Intermodal Association of North America, despite port congestion issues that impacted international container traffic. Domestic intermodal loads grew 4.5 percent, buoyed by domestic containers, which rose 6.5 percent in a quarter-over-quarter comparison.
Retailers concerned by the lack of a West Coast longshoremen's contract will continue to bring merchandise into the country at above-average levels this month, but volume will drop from the record set in August, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
U.S. vessel imports are up from December by 6.9% and just above January of 2012 by 0.1%. The total TEU count for January was 1,518,851 and shipments were over 750,000. January imports have not been this high since 2007, which signals some steady rebounding growth for 2013.