Levels of imports and shipments to the United States posted another strong performance in June, according to data recently released by global business intelligence firm Panjiva.
Total shipments to the United States in June, at 1,237,540, are up 31% per year and 27.4%, to 7,376,469, year-to-date through June. Containerized freight imports — at 2,834,616 TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) increased 30.6% and are up 31.5% year-to-date, to 17,013,197 TEUs.
On the product side, for June, Panjiva reported the following import figures [compared to June 2019]:
-health care shipments increased 33.2%;
– consumer discretionary products grew 23.6%, with annual growth rates for both segments lower than May levels;
-textile / clothing shipments fell 4.9%;
-Consumer electronics shipments fell 13.8%;
-Information technology shipments rose 1.6%, after jumping 22.3% in May; and
-Communications shipments fell by 3.4%
Panjiva said the downturn in computing and the downturn in consumer electronics likely reflects the continued shortage of semiconductor availability, which has impacted various electronics manufacturers.
For places of origin, Panjiva said imports from China, excluding China, were up 34.4% from June 2019, and shipments from Europe were in 26.4% increase over the same period, China up 15.4%. In addition, the company observed that imports from Europe, at 431,000 TEU, set a new record, and shipments from Asia were lower than the level seen in the previous three months, which may indicate that “the relative pressure on ports may be felt more on the US east coast than on the west coast.
Panjiva research director Chris Rogers said in an interview that June figures show how the first half of 2020 was characterized by high consumer demand in North America, which was largely driven by Federal stimulus checks and, to some extent, continued stay-at-home spending.
“At the same time, we are seeing a recovery in the industrial and manufacturing economy, which has also boosted demand,” he noted. “There is this confluence of the consumer boom and the industrial boom at the same time. In the maritime transport sector, many consumer durables, which have been the object of the most significant expenditure, constitute the goods which arrive in these boxes. [containers]. A classic example being furniture, for example, which was long moribund and then shipped very quickly somehow changes the dynamic. The same goes for things like televisions and home appliances.
This activity, however, led to a period when the container shipping industry struggled to quell this demand, which was evident in the congestion at ports to how heavily container ships had to be used. aggressive, with the industry struggling to keep up.
On a positive note, the well-documented Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach order backlog has declined, as it heads to ports based in Northern California.
And Rogers has observed that some companies are taking steps to alleviate congested ports, such as Levi Strauss who recently noted that it is doing more air travel and importing more product into east coast ports.
Looking ahead to the second half of 2021, Rogers said import levels may depend on the amount of spending going to the service economy.
“We have almost reached peak season without there being a slowdown,” he said. “But we’re still a bit far from that and the industry has some issues to resolve. The Yantien [China] The port has been reopened for a few weeks, and it will take some time for these issues to be resolved in the system. The latter part of this year may in fact be characterized more by supply than demand. All eyes are on the container lines now, as President Biden’s recent executive order encourages some changes to be made. “
About the Author
Jeff Berman, Group News Editor Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics management, Modern material handling, and Supply chain management review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation and material handling industries on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman