US Port Review - September 2023
Panama has suffered from drought conditions throughout 2023, which has led to water levels in Gatun Lake to drop to a 4-year low.
As a result, the number of vessels able to transit the canal per day has been lowered, and the vessels transiting are required to be up to 40% lighter than normal.
At the start of September there are over 150 vessels waiting on either side of the canal (see below).
The ILWU (West Coast Dock Workers Union) now have a tentative agreement with the PMA (Pacific Maritime Association)
The agreement has not been ratified by either group yet, and will be voted on by the union workers in the coming months.
At this time, we believe the risk for a strike, work slowdown, or other disruptions has been negated.
US Port Overview
At the start of September, we see that all US ports are operating with minimal delays.
Notably the maps and data in this report were taken immediately after a holiday weekend. While most ports show several vessels waiting this should even out over the next week.
Additionally, Hurricane Idalia cause some disruptions to the Gulf and Southeastern US ports. (Savannah was most impacted)
Ocean Fuel (VLSFO) has been at a stable price for most of 2023, over the last 6 weeks it has risen approximately 10%.
Diesel in the USA as the start of July is $4.47 a gallon (California is $1.20 more per gallon)
While diesel has seen slight declines throughout the first half of the year, the price continues to keep freight prices high.
Diesel has increased 10% over the last 5 weeks.
Additionally, average diesel prices reported by EIA.gov are typically lower than truck stop prices, and are average across large sections of the country.
July imports were in line with 2019
East / Gulf coast ports beat out the west coast in July.
This trend could easily change with the drought situation in Panama.
The PDF below is port-by-port review across the U.S. in September 2023 compared to 2022 & 2021.