Descartes Systems Group, a global leader in uniting logistics-intensive businesses in commerce, has released its October report on the ongoing global shipping crisis and analysis for logistics and supply chain professionals. The report shows that a slowing economy, retailers reducing purchases, inflation and high fuel costs are finally making an impact on US container imports. The decrease in September import volumes did not, however, have a measurable impact on port delays, especially for East and Gulf Coast ports, which continues to point to congested and challenging global supply chain performance for the rest of 2022.
Container imports into the US in September retreated 11.0% versus September 2021 to 2,215,731 TEUs, though volume was still up 9% from pre-pandemic September 2019. September 2022 volume was also down significantly versus August 2022 with a 12.4% decline (see image). China was a significant contributor to the decline as Chinese imports in September were down 18.3% to 820,329 TEUs compared to August 2022 and down 22.7% versus September 2021.
“This is the first month that US container import volumes are seeing the effects of market headwinds, but we haven’t yet seen a similar reduction in port waiting times, which would help improve global supply chain performance,” said Chris Jones, EVP Industry & Services at Descartes. “The decline in Chinese imports was the greatest driver of the overall decrease in US imports and was felt the most on West Coast ports as most East and Gulf Ports continued operating at higher overall volumes.”
Note: Descartes’ definition of port delay is the difference as measured in days between the Estimated Arrival Date, which is initially declared on the bill of lading, and the date when Descartes receives the CBP-processed bill of lading.