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US Container Volumes Soar From China In Q1

U.S. container volumes saw a sizable 7.9% monthly increase this January over December 2023, the largest such gain for January in 7 years. This rise was mainly driven by a 14.9% surge in China imports, according to Descartes Systems Group’s January 2024 Global Shipping Report.

The increase in shipments is partially attributed to the customary pre-Chinese New Year rush, during which factories along China’s coast swiftly dispatch a multitude of goods to the port before their workers embark on an extended holiday in their hometowns.

However, this year’s surge surpasses the lackluster Chinese New Year season of 2023 by a considerable margin, with volumes steadily rising throughout the year.

Despite China experiencing its slowest GDP growth of the 21st century at 5.3% in 2023, ports like Shanghai are shipping more volume than in the past two years. This anomaly suggests that the increase in volume is not solely driven by a thriving manufacturing sector in China but rather by U.S. importers actively pulling goods out of China.

Given these trends, it is anticipated that February and March will be strong months for U.S. ports, especially those on the West Coast.

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