Panama Canal Congestion
Restrictions are worsening in Panama with capacity at the canal to drop to less than half by February. This will start to affect container transit.
See the below photo, note the majority of the volume waiting to transit the canal are bulk carriers (orange dots) and not container vessels. Not all vessels will be delayed through the canal, if they pre-book a spot.
US Port Overview
At the start of December, we see that all US ports are operating with minimal delays.
We are now in the US peak season for container imports. If traffic follows a typical year expect a small uptick in transit and delays over the next few months.
Ocean Fuel (VLSFO) has increased from the summer time lows and is back to the price we saw in January. This cost is roughly twice the price in 2019-2021
Diesel in the USA as the start of December is $4.15 a gallon (California is $1.43 more per gallon)
Diesel is still roughly 30% higher than 2019 levels, which is keeping freight prices elevated.
Additionally, average diesel prices reported by EIA.gov are typically lower than truck stop prices, and are average across large sections of the country.
October imports were higher than 2022, and significantly higher than 2019.
East coast port load share edged ahead of the east coast in October.
The PDF below is port-by-port review across the U.S. in December 2023 compared to 2022 & 2021.