U.S. containerized import volume jumped 15.1 percent year-over-year in March 2014, the largest increase in 13 months, according to advance figures from PIERS, the data division of JOC Group Inc. Containerized imports totaled 1.44 million TEUs in March, also climbing 10.0 percent from volume in February. Import volume in the first quarter of 2014 is up 3.8 percent from volume in the same three months of 2013.
“Among commodities, I expect to see continued gains in housing industry inputs and auto parts, but am less optimistic about consumer goods including toys and wearing apparel,” said JOC Economist Mario Moreno in the March report of JOC Insights. “Prior to a more robust recovery in these goods, the economy will have to undergo a sustained period of solid expansion with a significant reduction in equity market volatility.”
Leading the gains among the top 25 imports were plastic products, rising 64 percent; fabrics, improving 63 percent; and woodenware, up 39 percent. The largest decline among imports was seen in menswear, with a 24 percent year-over-year drop; apparel and fruits followed, both down 12 percent.
Eastbound trans-Pacific imports soared 19.1 percent year-over-year to 980,833 TEUs in March.
The largest regional increase came from Africa, which climbed 47 percent in volume to 11,850 TEUs in March 2014.The largest drop was in imports from the Middle East, which slipped 7 percent to 6,790 TEUs.
Among the Top 25 source countries, shipments from Taiwan showed the largest increase in March, up 34 percent year-over-year to 46,205 TEUs. Shipments from mainland China totaled 585,213 TEUs in March, up 24 percent year-over-year. Philippine and Spanish exports to the U.S. in March totaled 11,225 and 16,856 TEUs, both rising 23 percent year-over-year. U.S. imports from Honduras were down the most, off 14 percent year-over-year to 18,616 TEUs. Costa Rica followed with a drop of 10 percent to 16,065 TEUs, and imports from Ecuador experienced a decline of 5 percent to 10,351 TEUs.