February 2023 International Market Update


The following information from Sunset’s International team details the current International market conditions. Customer communication is vital with the instability of international trade. 

Sunset is here to help with the most basic or complex shipments.  Email [email protected] to speak further about how to manage any International needs that arise.

Ocean Industry

Current constraints

    • Port operations largely back to normal on both coasts.
    • EC ports around 1-2 days delay, almost no vessels waiting outside NYC/CHS/ORF, with only 2 vessels waiting for berth at Savannah. 
    • Gulf Coast congestion clearing up, ~3 days wait with 1 vessel waiting outside Houston. 
    • WC Ports are flowing smoothly wait and there are effectively no vessels waiting for berth. 
    • Rail from both LAXLGB and SEATAC stable at around 3-4 days. 
    • Capacity is readily available on all major services, supply has far outweighed demand. Q1 agricultural season may have an impact on capacity availability near term however outlook remains that supply will still remain high.  
    • The drop in export demand has allowed North American container yards to work through existing congestion issues and improve operations.  
    • Rates have been stable after adjustments were made in Q4 to account for falling demand. Carriers may look to lower rates again in the near future as demand remains suppressed.  
    • Aside from a few blank sailings, no major changes in capacity at this time.  
    • Carriers are actively looking for export cargo.
    • Capacity ex U.S. West and Gulf coasts continues to be tight, but remains readily available on the East coast.  
    • No major capacity changes planned in the market currently, despite the on-going high utilization levels of the U.S. West Coast to North Europe trade. 
    • Rates remain relatively stable despite the continued capacity crunch ex U.S. West and Gulf coasts. 
  • US International Trade in Goods and Services, November 2022
    • December 2022: -$67.4B
    • November 2022: -$61.0B

      The U.S. monthly international trade deficit increased in December 2022 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. The deficit increased from $61B in November (revised) to $67.4B in December, as imports increased, and exports decreased. The goods deficit increased $7.4B in December to $90.6B. The services surplus increased $1B in December to $23.2B.

Stability: Instability will continue into Q2 2023.

  • January Imports increased  7.2% from December, but was still down 16.1% YOY
    • Descartes reported  that 2M TEU’s were imported in January.
  • Global Schedule Reliability improved 0.1% from November to December remaining at 56.6%.

Future Lookouts:

  • Weekly analysis : 10 February 2023
    • Across the major trades: Transpacific, Transatlantic and Asia-North Europe & Med, 82 cancelled sailings have been announced between weeks 7 (13 February – 19 February) and week 11 (13 March – 19 March), out of a total of 690 scheduled sailings, representing 12% cancellation rate. During this period, 66% of the blank sailings will be occurring in the Transpacific Eastbound, 27% on Asia-North Europe and Med, and 7% on the Transatlantic Westbound trade.

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