A few months ago, there were about 30 container ships stuck at anchor off Long Beach and Los Angeles. That number has gone down to 20 per day but the Trans-Pacific critical expanse has not eased down. Are import volumes getting better or worse?
Nerijus Poskus, vice president of global ocean at freight forwarder Flexport calls it a ‘tsunami of freight’ that has never occurred and import volumes are getting higher 1.5 times pre-pandemic levels. Import volumes are still rising and this dynamic may not subside anytime soon. There is a huge restocking demand in the nation’s largest retailers. For instance, the demand for food and beverage items, retail consumables and home improvement goods has made it challenging for these companies to keep these products on their shelves and many are still chasing merchandise.
Imports are rising faster than sales growth due to re-stocking inventory and even if consumer demand slows down in the next quarter this year, import volume accommodation and rates are not expected to quickly get better. Poskus presumes true that some importers will not even be able to get on the boat bringing trade to a standstill and May will be the worst people have ever seen.