March 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

    • East Coast dwell times remain lower, with an average of 5 days.
    • Rail from both LAXLGB and SEATAC at around 7-9 days due to holiday impact.
    • Increased congestion, vessel bunching, and multiple vessels at anchor are being observed in Savannah, Houston, and Charleston.
    • Savannah: The terminal has discontinued its night gate as of February 20 due to a decline in volumes and reduced utilization of the gate. Canadian ports and rail ramps are still experiencing congestion. Yard utilization in Vancouver remains high, partly due to the ongoing congestion in Toronto and Montreal
    • Capacity remains available on all major services with no space constraints.
    • Congestion is no longer a factor across most container yards in North America, with reduced demand improving operations.
    • Existing capacity should remain static heading into Q2.
    • There is still some downward rate pressure on certain lanes, with carriers looking for volume on these services.
    • Dry containers should be available in most markets; however, chassis availability may be limited.
    • No real change in capacity ex U.S. West coast as limited carrier options have resulted in consistently high utilization.
    • Ex U.S. Gulf coasts, carrier utilization range from high to medium as some capacity has been reintroduced. 
    • Capacity ex U.S. East Coast remains readily available.
    • After some downward rate adjustments in the second half of Q4/early Q1 on U.S. East coast rates, levels have been relatively flat. Rates ex U.S. West and Gulf coasts have yet to be adjusted given the high utilization of those services.
    • Chassis availability may be limited in some IPI locations.
  • US International Trade in Goods and Services, November 2022
    • January 2023: +$68.3B
    • December 2022: -$67.2B

      The U.S. international trade deficit increased from $67.2B in December (revised) to $68.3B in January, as imports increased more than exports. The goods deficit decreased $0.6B to $90.1B, and the services surplus decreased $1.7B to $21.8B.

Stability: Instability will continue into Q3 2023. Although we are beginning to see a slight increase in volumes.

  • January Imports decreased  16.2% from January, and is still down 25% YoY, but only 0.3% lower than pre-pandemic February 2019.
    • Decartes reported  that  slightly above 1.7 M TEU’s were imported in January.
  • Global Schedule Reliability declined 3.8% from December to January at 52.6%.

Future Lookouts:

  • Weekly analysis : 10 March 2023
    • Across the major East-West head haul trades: Transpacific, Transatlantic and Asia-North Europe & Med, 56 cancelled sailings have been announced between weeks 11 (13 March – 19 March) and week 15 (10 April – 16 April), out of a total of 675 scheduled sailings, representing an 8% cancellation rate. During this period, 57% of the blank sailings will be occurring in the Transpacific Eastbound, 34% on Asia-North Europe and Med, and 9% on the Transatlantic Westbound trade.

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