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  • Maggie Mildenberger

US Port Review - July 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Container costs are up two or three times bigger than this time last year

    • Rates will stay high, and likely rise.

  • Ocean vessel schedule reliability is hovering around 55%.

    • Container availability is an issue at some ports.

    • For U.S. imports, expect minimal delays - on average 1-3 days.

      • Booking delays in Asia could be as high as four weeks

  • US Ports are operating effectively, no major concerns

    • The East and Gulf coast dockworkers contract expires Sept 30. They are negotiating a new contract, no strike announced.

 

Container Logistics

  • Rising Container Costs

  • 40’ containers coming to the USA are now $9,000 - $12,000, with east coast arrivals being on the higher end.

  • Rates are not expected to fall soon, and will likely continue to increase.

    • Factors causing this increase:

  • Carriers canceling planned vessels, to ensure each boat that is moving is full. Leading to shippers fighting for the available space.

  • Vessel backups and delays in Singapore are causing a ripple across global ocean logistics.

  • Container availability issues are occurring. This is mostly due to the longer transit times boats have been facing for 8+ months.

  • Additionally, vessels being out of position due to longer transit times / delays.

  • Shippers are moving up their peak season shipments, which is worsening the current market conditions.

  • Imports to the US are up 12% year over year.

  • Panama Canal Congestion

    • Restrictions due to drought are still in place, however conditions are continuing to improve.

      • The canal is now allowing up to 31 vessels to transit, up from 24. This is lower than the previous maximum of 38-42.

      • By August the canal is expecting to increase transit slots to 35.

  • Suez Canal and the Red Sea

    • Starting in November 2023 and continuing into July most long-range steamship lines avoiding this area. Local traffic is continuing to use the canal.

      • Overall volume through the canal is down over 50% compared to this time last year.

    • Vessels inbound to the USA are continuing to route around Africa (Cape of Good Hope), which increases transit time by roughly a week.

      • See below image showing container vessels inbound to the USA, note the large amount using this new route.

 

US Port and Overland Overview

  • Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse and the Port of Baltimore

  • US East / Gulf Coast Dock Worker Contract

  • Fuel Updates

    • Ocean Fuel (VLSFO) as of July 2024 is flat over the year

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

    • Diesel in the USA as the start of July is $3.65 a gallon

  • Diesel is still roughly 38% 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.

  • National FTL rates are steady throughout 2024, though elevated from 2019 levels.

  • LTL and small package rates have continued to rise, due to the nature of how those networks function.

 

Data Analysis

  • May imports were 12% higher than 2023.

  • East Coast port load share stayed ahead of the West Coast through May 2024

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

US Port Review July 2024
.pdf
Download PDF • 620KB



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