Managers of supply chains pay close attention to port volume as a crucial sign of trade trends. 40 percent of the value of international freight was processed through marine gateways in 2022, offering priceless insights into the performance of the sector.

We will look at monthly statistics from the major 12 U.S. seaports to understand the present situation of containerized trade in 2023.

Port Houston Cargo Volumes Drop 8 Percent in September

The volume of cargo moved through Port Houston in September decreased by 8 percent from the same month last year, totaling 325,588 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs). This is the second month in a row that the year-over-year (YoY) volume has decreased. Port Houston is still strong compared to the previous month, when it handled 307,624 TEUs, despite this dip. Roger Guenther, the executive director of the port, explains that this decline is due to expectations following a record year in 2022.

Port of Long Beach Marks Its Busiest September on Record

In September, the Port of Long Beach experienced its busiest month ever, handling 829,429 TEUs, an increase of 11.8 percent from the same month last year. This achievement can be ascribed to shippers preparing for holiday demand and a renewed labor contract. The Port of Long Beach expects a modest increase in cargo volume through the end of the year as consumer confidence rises.

Port of Oakland Cargo Volumes Drop 7 Percent in September

The amount of cargo moving through the Port of Oakland decreased by 7 percent YoY in September, totaling 171,822 TEUs. With 179,161 TEUs reported in August, the port is still being impacted by this trend that started in 2021. These persistent volume decreases have been exacerbated by retailers’ and manufacturers’ reductions in import volumes.

Port of Savannah Cargo Volumes Dip 28 Percent in August

August saw a substantial 28 percent YoY decline in cargo volumes at the Port of Savannah, totaling 413,294 TEUs. This is a result of the cargo quantities continuously declining since November of the previous year. Operating capacity has been decreased as a result of infrastructure initiatives like berth reconstruction. Although cargo diversions had previously helped the port, volumes in August fell short of pre-pandemic highs.

Port Miami Cargo Volumes Drop 9 Percent in August

In August, PortMiami handled 92,139 TEUs, a 9 percent decline in cargo volume over the same month last year. Since volumes have been inconsistent, it is predicted that the full-year data would indicate a decrease of between 7 percent and 8 percent. As shippers attempt to lower their stockpiles, PortMiami is experiencing decreased container volumes similar to other East Coast ports.

Port Everglades Cargo Volumes Dip 14 Percent in August

At Port Everglades, cargo volume in August decreased 14 percent from the previous year to 79,641 TEUs. This is the sixth consecutive month that volumes have decreased, and the reduction is due to a return to pre-COVID freight levels. Port Everglades estimates future volume levels to be more typical.

Jacksonville Port Authority Cargo Volumes Dip 2 Percent in August

August saw a 2 percent decrease in cargo volume year-over-year at the Jacksonville Port Authority, reaching 115,101 TEUs. Although volumes were down compared to the prior year, they were up over the month before in August, giving the port a sense of stability.

South Carolina Ports Authority Cargo Volumes Drop 9 Percent in August

With 203,169 TEUs handled in August, the South Carolina Ports Authority recorded a 9 percent decrease in cargo volumes year over year. This decline was influenced by a tepid peak season, decreased consumer demand, and a temperate U.S. economy. However, the vehicle category at the Port of Charleston saw growth, with 17,876 cars moving through the port, a 9 percent rise over the previous year.

Port of New York and New Jersey Cargo Volumes Drop 21 Percent in August

With 662,740 TEUs handled, cargo volumes at the Port of New York and New Jersey decreased by 21 percent year-over- year in August. As American merchants drew off their overstocked inventories, the port adjusted to decreased retail traffic. The port administration reported processing 2.7 percent greater volumes year to date by August than it did in 2019 notwithstanding the downturn.

Port of Virginia Cargo Volumes Drop 16 Percent in August

The Port of Virginia recorded 287,232 TEUs in cargo volume in August, a 16 percent decrease from the same month the previous year. The port explains this by saying that after processing the final surges of goods from the COVID period, volumes and freight flows have returned to normal. The port’s total TEUs for the month increased by 12 percent in comparison to 2019 levels despite the decline in container volumes.

Northwest Seaport Alliance International Cargo Volumes Dipped 22 Percent in August

With 169,358 TEUs handled in August, international container volumes at The Northwest Seaport Alliance decreased by 22 percent from the same month last year. At Seattle and Tacoma ports, this reduction persisted the entire year, which was caused by pandemic-related conditions and weak import demand. Volumes climbed compared to July despite the lower YoY comparison, showing some promising indicators for the port’s performance, particularly in auto shipments.

Port of Oakland Cargo Volumes Drop 15 Percent in August

At the Port of Oakland, cargo volume dropped by 15 percent from the previous year to 179,161 TEUs in August. Slower shipments from merchants, producers, and shippers have been a continuing trend since late 2021. The port recorded good trends in vessel calls and commercial real estate holdings notwithstanding these declining volumes.

Port Houston Container Volumes Decrease 20 Percent in August

With 307,624 TEUs handled in August, Port Houston saw a 20 percent YoY decrease in cargo volumes. After a record-breaking August the year before, this decline was the biggest of the year. Despite decreasing quantities, the port is stable, and infrastructural improvements are in progress.

Port of Long Beach Cargo Volumes Dip 15 Percent in August

682,312 TEUs worth of cargo were moved through the Port of Long Beach in August, a 15.4 percent decrease from the previous month. This brought the port’s string of traffic reductions to almost a full year. The reduction has been attributed to warehouse overstock, which has been fueled by consumers’ attention to vacation and summertime activities. For long-term competitiveness, the port is investing in physical and digital infrastructure developments.

Port of Los Angeles Sees the First Volume Increase in 13 Months

The Port of Los Angeles reported that cargo volumes in August increased by 3 percent YoY to 828,016 TEUs. This was the first volume rise in 13 months, which was a result of the recently ratified labor agreement between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The fact that warehouse inventories are so high suggests that there are still problems in the supply chain.

Insights on the state of containerized trade and the larger supply chain business can be gained by keeping an eye on the trends at these ports. While some ports are declining, others are rebounding and proving resilient in the face of persistent difficulties.

Looking Ahead

Should you have any questions regarding this and how it could impact your shipments, please reach out to our team today.

Additionally, we have our weekly market updates that can provide you with relevant freight news, updates, developments across the industry, and more.


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