U.S. containerized import volume fell 9.2 percent month-to-month in November, according to advance figures from PIERS, a JOC sister company. Imports totaled 1.45 million 20-foot-equivalent units in November. Volume remained flat year-over-year, following seven consecutive months of increases.
“I have modestly downgraded the imports forecast for the fourth quarter from 6.6 percent to 5.2 percent mostly because of the fading impact of the partial government shutdown over business and consumer confidence,” said Journal of Commerce economist Mario Moreno in the November report of JOC Insights. “Total U.S. imports via ocean container are now forecast to grow 3.5 percent in 2013, downgraded from 4.1 percent, and 5.9 percent in 2014 as economic activity picks up the pace.”
In the first 11 months of 2013, imports increased 3.2 percent year-over-year; however, November imports were down 2.7 percent from containerized volume in January.
Leading the declines among the top 25 imports were men’s wear, down 38 percent; address machinery, down 19 percent; and apparel, down 17 percent. The largest gains were seen in fabrics including raw cotton, with a 48 percent year-over-year jump; woodenware, up 32 percent; and plastic products, up 31 percent.
Eastbound trans-Pacific imports rose 1.5 percent year-over-year to 1.07 million TEUs in November. The largest drop was in imports from the Middle East region, which tumbled 34 percent to 6,096 TEUs. The largest regional increase came from the west coast of South America, which climbed 7 percent in volume to 33,718 TEUs from 31,508 in November 2012.
Among the top 25 source countries, shipments from Brazil were down the most, off 21 percent year-over-year to 23,703 TEUs. Malaysia followed with a drop of 19 percent year-over-year, to 17,629 TEUs. Imports from the Netherlands also experienced a decline of 17 percent, to 16,389 TEUs. U.S. imports from Ecuador showed the largest increase in November, up 19 percent year-over-year to 9,961 TEUs. Shipments from Taiwan totaled 40,360 TEUs in November, up 10 percent year-over-year. Thailand’s exports to the U.S. in November totaled 30,317 TEUs, growing 8 percent year-over-year.