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  • Maggie Mildenberger

US Port Review - February 2024

General Notes

  • Nearly all Ocean lanes are affected by the congestion in Panama and vessels avoiding the Red Sea / Suez Canal

  • Ocean freight for many lanes will take several days to a week longer

  • Routes could change unexpectedly

  • Increased costs / General Rate increases

  • Vessels and containers out of position and taking longer to circulate through their normal routes

  • Post Chinese New Year (Feb 10) is a critical moment for capacity and rates.

  • Panama Canal Congestion

    • Restrictions due to drought are still in place holding the vessels allowed to transit per day at 24 down from 38.

  • Suez Canal and the Red Sea

    • Starting in November 2023 and continuing into February, Houthi Rebels have conducted attacks on vessels transiting the Red Sea.

  • This has led to most steamship lines avoiding the area, with vessels now routing around Africa (Cape of Good Hope), which increases transit time by several days. The below image shows container vessels inbound to the USA, note the large amount using this new route.

  • The US military has a presence in the region and is coordinating with other nations to provide security for trade vessels.


US Port Overview

  • US East / Gulf Coast Dock Worker Contract

  • The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) contract expires on September 30 2024. Negotiations are underway for a new contract.

  • The ILA represents workers at 36 ports along the Gulf and East coast

  • At the start of February, there is an uptick in delays (approximately 1 day) at several US ports – though overall freight is moving through the ports efficiently.

  • Ports seeing an uptick; Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, NY/NJ, Houston.


Fuel Updates

  • Ocean Fuel (VLSFO) is up roughly 10% since the start of the year

  • Compared to 2021 and prior the cost is still up 50% +

  • Diesel in the USA as the start of February is $3.86 a gallon

  • Diesel is still roughly 30% higher than 2019 levels, which is keeping freight prices elevated.

  • Additionally, average diesel prices reported by are typically lower than truck stop prices, and are average across large sections of the country.


Data Analysis

  • December imports were higher than 2022, and significantly higher than 2019.

  • East coast port load share edged ahead of the west coast in December.

The PDF below is port-by-port review across the U.S. in February 2024 compared to 2023 & 2022.

US Port Review February 2024
Download PDF • 972KB


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