July 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

    • Blank sailings have contributed to an apparent space crunch. Some lanes are overbooked to the end of July and beginning of August.
    • The Port of Haiphong (Vietnam) is currently undergoing a dredging project from early July to the middle of August. Right now, only one berth can be used.
    • With dockworker strikes at West Canadian ports now ended – Vancouver and Prince Rupert – delays are expected to last for 39-65 days
    • Rates: a few carriers have issued GRIs for the second-half of the month, effective July 15.
    • Space: OPEN – GRI’s reported are $800-$1,200 per container.
    • Capacity: OPEN – carriers  adding more in August and September as they receive and deploy new vessels they ordered.
    • Equipment: Available at virtually all inland and coastal points
  • IMPORT: Europe to North American (TAWB)
    • Rates: continue to steadily fall.
    • Space: OPEN – except for a few pockets.
    • Capacity: OPEN.
    • Equipment: Availability on both origin and destination sides, unless advised otherwise.
    • Sunset recommends booking at least three weeks prior to ready date.
    • Rates, while falling, are still high compared to other trades. Carriers still possess a degree of power in the transatlantic over the shipper.
    • Premium add-ons (i.e., no-roll options and improved cargo reliability) remain assurances shippers should consider with transatlantic service.
  • EXPORT: North America to Asia
    • Despite West Coast labor tensions averted, agriculture exporters are still eyeing to diversify their routing options to the East and Gulf coasts going forward.
    • Rates: low and level. 
    • Space: OPEN – tighter on U.S. Gulf Coast. 
    • Capacity: widely available for all services.
    • Equipment: availability at virtually all inland points and seaports. However, chassis access remains a wildcard against fluid intermodal movement.
  • US International Trade in Goods and Services, May 2023
    • May 2023: -$69.0B
    • April 2023: -$74.4B

The U.S. monthly international trade deficit decreased in May 2023 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. The deficit decreased from $74.4B in April (revised) to $69.0B in May as imports decreased more than exports. The goods deficit decreased $4.8B in May to $91.3B. The services surplus increased $0.7B in May to $22.3B.


Instability will continue into Q4 2023 due to a very fragile economy.  Although we have seen a slight increase in volumes due to the Peak Season, volume and rate levels are now back to or slightly higher than pre-pandemic 2019. We can expect to see a continued decline of Asian imports as U.S. supply chains lean towards regional partners to cross-borders.

  • June imports decreased 0.7% from May. TEU levels are still down 16.1% YoY, but up 6.0% higher than pre-pandemic May 2019.
    • Descartes reported  that around 2M TEU’s were imported in June.
  • Global Schedule Reliability increased 2.7% from April to May at 66.8%.

Future Lookouts

  • Weekly analysis : 14 June 2023
    • Across the major East-West head haul trades: Transpacific, Transatlantic and Asia-North Europe & Med, 36 cancelled sailings have been announced between weeks 29 (17 Jul-23 July) and week 33 (14 Aug-20 Aug), out of a total of 667 scheduled sailings, representing a 5% cancellation rate.

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