PIERS: US Containerized Imports See Largest Increase in Six Months

PIERS: US Containerized Imports See Largest Increase in Six Months

U.S. containerized imports through August 2013U.S. containerized imports through August 2013

U.S. containerized imports climbed 5.2 percent year-over-year in August, according to advance figures from PIERS, a JOC sister company. U.S. containerized imports totaled 1.62 million 20-foot-equivalent units in August. This was the largest year-over-year jump since February 2013.

“U.S. containerized imports via ocean picked up the pace in August with the peak shipping season under way,” said Journal of Commerce economist Mario Moreno in the October report of JOC Insights. “Inbound trade in August was supported primarily by a rebound in the U.S. housing market and ongoing robust sales of autos and light vehicles. Meanwhile, import prices fell one-third of a percent sequentially during the third quarter, supporting the trade gains seen in the prior two months. Forecast for third quarter imports call for growth of 4.7 percent year-over-year.”

Containerized import volume in August remained unchanged from July. In the first eight months of 2013, imports increased 2.8 percent year-over-year; August imports were up 9.0 percent from containerized volume in January.   

Leading the gains among the top 25 imports were fabrics including raw cotton, with a 52 percent year-over-year jump; plastic products, up 47 percent; and auto/truck tires and tubes, up 32 percent. The largest declines were seen in men’s wear, down 25 percent; address machinery, down 16 percent; and decorations, down 15 percent.

Eastbound trans-Pacific imports rose 6 percent year-over-year to 1.20 million TEUs in August. The largest regional increase came from the west coast of South America, which jumped 16 percent in volume to 42,665 TEUs from 36,926 in August 2012. The largest drop was in imports from the Oceania region, down 8 percent to 14,130 TEUs.

Among the top 25 source countries, U.S. imports from Chile showed the largest increase in August, up 15 percent year-over-year to 18,917 TEUs. Shipments from Indonesia totaled 30,915 TEUs in August, up 14 percent year-over-year. Mainland China’s exports to the U.S. in August totaled 793,149 TEUs, growing 10 percent year-over-year. Shipments from Costa Rica were down the most, off 15 percent year-over-year to 13,395 TEUs. Hong Kong followed with a drop of 11 percent year-over-year, to 36,754 TEUs. Imports from Japan also experienced a decline of 11 percent, to 49,526 TEUs.