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US Import Surge: What are people shipping?

In recent months, ports worldwide have experienced unprecedented import volumes. Of these ports, since the beginning of Fall 2020, the West Coast terminals in the United States have seen incredible record-setting numbers. Los Angeles, for example, reported an increase of 25% compared to the previous year, while Long Beach cited an increase of 30.5% with the busiest quarter in their 109-year history. While obviously not a typical occurrence, there are a handful of things that can possibly explain the import surge.

What’s Causing It?

As with most things recently, the import surge seems to be directly related to the global pandemic. With many consumers required to stay at home, many of them are purchasing goods instead of services. For example, rather than going out to a spa for nail maintenance or eating at a restaurant, consumers are buying machines to do at-home manicures as well as more kitchen products for cooking. Furthermore, many ports have reported high import volumes of paint, furniture, and office equipment, among other home and office items. It seems consumers are spending money on making their home life as well as their work-from-home life more comfortable as they adapt to the new normal created by the pandemic. To top that off, stores are finally reopening and need to restock their shelves in order to serve seasonal shoppers and cope with the e-commerce boom.

A Situation to Watch

With Asia being the major manufacturing center for such products, shipments into west coast ports have increased. However, the situation is not all positive. With a surge in imports, west coast ports are highly congested and are now working around the clock to put into place methods to help smooth out terminal unloading and transport processes. Implementing digital technology, utilizing temporary storage yards and increasing trucking usage are some of the key methods being deployed. However, vessel delays, shortages, and other limitations are still causing major delays.

With import surges and port congestion likely to continue into the foreseeable future, lean on ClearFreight, where we are always looking towards the future with your needs in mind. Contact one of our logistics experts today with any questions or to learn how we can help with your organization’s supply chain.

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