PIERS: US Containerized Exports Extend Slide

PIERS: US Containerized Exports Extend Slide

U.S. containerized exports, April 2013 to April 2014U.S. containerized exports, April 2013 to April 2014

U.S. containerized exports declined for the third straight month in April, albeit marginally, dropping 0.2 percent year-over-year.

Preliminary numbers released by PIERS, the Data Division of JOC Group, Inc., continued to show year-over-year declines in the volume of U.S. containerized exports, which slipped 0.2 percent for a second straight month. The United States has yet to see a year-over-year increase in containerized exports in 2014.

Waterborne containerized exports totaled 1,018,484 TEUs in April; year-to-date, they are down 2.1 percent compared with the first four months of 2013.

“I’ve downgraded the 2014 outlook of U.S. containerized exports from plus 1.8 to minus 0.7 percent partly owing to poor first quarter volume,” JOC economist Mario Moreno said. “The recovery in the eurozone continues to be very fragile, while developing economies remain vulnerable to monetary policy normalization in advanced economies.”

“For all of 2014, exports are forecast to decline by 0.7 percent and total approximately 12.1 million fully loaded TEUs,” he said. “The outlook for 2015, however, is positive at plus 3.5 percent for an approximate total of 12.6 million fully loaded TEUs.”

The Northeast Asia region continued to be the top destination country for U.S. containerized exports, receiving 442,391 TEUs in April. Exports to northern Europe were up 5 percent year-over-year to 129,572 TEUs, and exports heading to southeast Asia were up 4 percent to 85,892 20-foot-equivalent units.

Of the top 25 destination countries for U.S. exports, Turkey and Brazil saw the steepest year-over-year declines in April, both down 12 percent. Hong Kong following with a 10 percent drop. The largest year-over-year increase was to the UK, with a 19 percent jump. Exports to Belgium were up 14 percent, and the volume of containers shipped to India rose 11 percent.

Containerized exports of seeds and bulbs continued to grow exponentially, with a 222 percent rise in April. Exports of miscellaneous plastic products grew 63 percent year over year, and furniture exports were up 26 percent.

Medical equipment and supplies exports showed a 32 percent decrease, the highest among the top 25 commodities exported by the U.S. Containerized exports of industrial resins were down 26 percent. Fabrics, vinyl alcohol and PVC resins, and soybean products were all down 24 percent in April.

Contact Corianne Egan at cegan@joc.com and follow her on Twitter: @CEgan_JOC.