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  • Maggie Mildenberger

US Port Review - March 2024

General Notes

  • Key Takeaways for International Logistics

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

  • The following factors are also affecting transit times and pricing:

  • 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 March 2024, 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

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

  • East Coast and Gulf Coast ports are seeing the largest increase in delays.


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 March is $4.05 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

  • January imports were nearly 10% higher than 2023 and 2019.

  • West coast port load share edged ahead of the east coast in January 2024 (on the right side of the graph).

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

US Port Review March 2024
Download PDF • 812KB


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