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US Ports by Volume: How Maritime Cargo Trends are Stacking up

Maritime Cargo Trends

The volume of cargo containers handled at the major U.S. seaports can serve as an indicator of the country’s economic and commercial health.

In 2022, maritime gateways accounted for 40% of international freight value, making port volumes a useful barometer for tracking trade trends.

This article by our friends over at Supply Chain Dive cites the longer-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with a significant increase in cargo container volumes from 2018 to 2020, leading to congestion and logistics delays in 2021 and 2022. In 2023, volumes have returned to pre-pandemic levels, and the article suggests tracking monthly data to assess how containerized trade compares to 2019.

Examples of recent September year-over-year trends at specific ports include a 22% drop in cargo volumes at the Port of New York and New Jersey and a 5% increase in cargo volumes at the Port of Los Angeles. The Port of Long Beach also experienced its busiest September on record, attributed to a ratified labor contract and holiday demand for goods.

Use this tracker to dig into trends by seaport, coast, and month.

Shippers Must Have a Proactive Freight Strategy:

“While we are approaching pre-pandemic levels on volumes in some lanes, the last few years have taught us that you have to be proactive in managing global supply lines and expect the unexpected.

To that end, we continuously monitor daily volume trends, geo-political situations, and potential risks to drive tactical efficiency in our customer’s supply lines. This includes forward-thinking of forecasting volumes to our network to ensure appropriate space and resources or implementation of business continuity planning routing to avoid any potential disruption to our customer.”

– Russ Romine, Vice President of International Transportation.

This comprehensive guide outlines how our team helps logistics managers assess supply chain strategy, align logistics infrastructure, and mitigate risk.

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