Regardless of the trade route, the container shipping industry revolves around a pretty basic concept: What comes in usually goes out.
Sure, some countries cope with significant trade imbalances, but for the carriers calling at the world’s ports, the goal is to be in sync, to pick up containers from the very port where they just dropped containers off. So when one leg of a trade rallies for a carrier, it’s a good bet that similar growth will be seen on its counterpart. That’s why in evaluating the Top 40 Container Carriers in the U.S. import trades, you’ll find some similarities with the Top 40 Export Carriers, in who’s growing and who isn’t. But look a little more deeply and you might just find a couple surprises.
The following are the top five biggest gainers and decliners in a year-over-year comparison of carriers handling U.S. containerized imports in 2012.