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  April 24th, 2023 | Written by

Descartes Releases April Global Shipping Report: March Volumes at Top West Coast Ports Increase Significantly

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Descartes Systems Group, the global leader in uniting logistics-intensive businesses in commerce, released its April Global Shipping Report for logistics and supply chain professionals. U.S. container import volumes in March 2023 increased significantly from February 2023, largely driven by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which was very counter intuitive, but kept the monthly trendline aligned with pre-pandemic 2019 volumes. Despite overall increases, port transit delays stabilized for all ports. Imports from China continued their downward trend and are almost 10% lower than their high in February 2022. The West Coast labor situation has still not been sorted out. The March update of the logistics metrics Descartes is tracking shows some consistency with pre-pandemic import volume seasonality but continues to point to challenging global supply chain performance in 2023.

March 2023 U.S. container import volumes increased 6.9% from February 2023 to 1,853,705 TEUs (see Figure 1). TEU volume was down 27.5% from March 2022, but up 4.2% from pre-pandemic March 2019. Two points to consider with the March numbers: 1) March has 31 days versus 28 for February and 2) With the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday occurring in January 2023, there still could be some impact on container import volumes in early March 2023.

Figure 1. U.S. Container Import Volume Year-over-Year Comparison

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Source: Descartes Datamyne™

“Container import volumes at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been in decline, but in March they experienced significant increases (see Figure 2). 2023 continues to track 2019 volumes,” said Chris Jones, EVP Industry and Services at Descartes. “There was also good news in that the port transit delay times remained constant despite the significant volume increases.”

Figure 2: February to March Comparison of Import Volumes at Top 10 U.S. Ports

Source: Descartes Datamyne™

The March report is Descartes’ twenty-first installment since beginning its analysis in August 2021. To read past reports, learn more about the key economic and logistics factors driving the global shipping crisis, and review strategies to help address it in the near-, short- and long-term, visit Descartes’ Global Shipping Resource Center.

About Descartes

Descartes is the global leader in providing on-demand, software-as-a-service solutions focused on improving the productivity, performance and security of logistics-intensive businesses. Customers use our modular, software-as-a-service solutions to route, schedule, track and measure delivery resources; plan, allocate and execute shipments; rate, audit and pay transportation invoices; access global trade data; file customs and security documents for imports and exports; and complete numerous other logistics processes by participating in the world’s largest, collaborative multimodal logistics community. Our headquarters are in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and we have offices and partners around the world.