November 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

  • Panama Canal – additional vessel reduction adjustments coming:
    • Around 70% of vessels using the Panama Canal require a draft of 44 ft., which is the current limit, down from 50 ft. at the beginning this year. If the draft is lowered further, majority of vessels won’t be able to transit with full loads.
    • Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator Richarte Vasquez outlined the challenge during a press conference in September, saying, “we will commit to 44 feet for the foreseeable future. If adjustments are required in order to maintain 44 feet, those adjustments will be on the number of transits per day.”
    • Those adjustments are now required. The ACP had previously reduced daily transit reservations slots from 36 to 32. At the beginning of November, it announced that reservation slots will gradually fall to:
      • 25 as of November 3
      • 24 on November 8
      • 22 on December 1
      • 20 on January 1
      • 18 as of February 1
  • Trans-Pacific Eastbound (TPEB):
    • Savannah: Up to 4.5 days waiting time for vessel berth, dependent on vessel size.
    • New York: No wait expected at Maher Terminals LLC and APM Terminals. However, expect up to 5 days at Global Container Terminals Bayonne.
    • LA/LB: Dwell time averaging 5-6 days.
    • Oakland: Average wait of 3 days at OICT, 5 days at TraPac.
    • Tacoma/Seattle: 5 days at Tacoma, 4 days at Seattle. Import deliveries: 8.5 days at HUSKY due to railcar imbalance, 7 days at Washington United Terminal, and 1-3 days at T18. Shortage in railcar availability impacting Union Pacific Rail and BNSF Rail.
  • Trans-Pacific Westbound (TPWB):
    • Depressed inbound volumes coupled with even westbound demand and the beginning of agriculture season have caused carriers to experience equipment imbalances at IPI and RIPI locations. Blank sailings have exacerbated the situation.
      • THE Alliance has temporarily suspended the PN3 service (Hong Kong – Yantian – Yangshan – Pusan – Vancouver – Tacoma – Pusan – Kaohsiung).
      • The PN2 service has been enhanced as a result. The revised rotation is as follows: Singapore – Laem Chabang – Cai Mep – Haiphong – Yantian – Yangshan (new) – Pusan (new) – Vancouver – Tacoma – Tokyo – Kobe – Kaohsiung (new) – Hong Kong (new) – Singapore
      • THE Alliance has also suspended the EC4 service from week 46 with upgrades to EC1, EC2, and EC5 services to compensate. Revised rotations as follows:
        • EC1: Kaohsiung – Xiamen (new) – Yantian – Yangshan – Pusan – Panama Canal – Manzanillo – New York – Norfolk – Charleston – Savannah – Manzanillo – Panama Canal – Rodman – Kaohsiung
        • EC2: Qingdao – Yantian (new) – Ningbo – Yangshan – Pusan – Panama Canal – Cartagena – Savannah – Charleston – Wilmington – Norfolk – Cartagena – Panama Canal – Pusan – Qingdao
        • EC5: Laem Chabang – Cai Mep – Singapore – Colombo – Suez Canal – Halifax – New York – Norfolk – Savannah – Jacksonville – Charleston (new) – New York (new) – Halifax – Suez Canal – Jebel Ali – Singapore – Laem Chabang
  • Transatlantic Eastbound (TAEB):
    • The European Union’s Emission Trading System (ETS) for shipping starts on January 1, 2024, covering vessels above 5000 gross tonnages. Penalties for exceeding emission allowances apply, decreasing yearly in line with EU climate targets. Weak westbound demand leads to canceled sailings and capacity reductions, affecting TAEB sailings/capacity.
  • U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services: September 2023
    • September 2023: -$61.5B
    • August 2023: -$58.7B
      • The U.S. monthly international trade deficit increased in September 2023 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. The deficit increased from $58.7B in August (revised) to $61.5B in September as imports increased more than exports.
      • The goods deficit increased +$1.7B in September to $86.3B.
      • The services surplus decreased -$1.2B in September to $24.8B.


  • October 2023: U.S. container import volumes increased 4.7% from September 2023 to 2,307,918 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Compared to October 2022, TEU volume was higher by 3.9%, and up 11.4% from pre-pandemic October 2019. The growth in import volume over the first ten months of 2023 is within 3.4% of the same period in 2019.
  • Global Schedule Reliability increased 1.2% in September at 64.4%.

Future Lookouts

  • Weekly analysis: November 10, 2023
    • Across major East-West head haul trades – Transpacific, Transatlantic and Asia-North Europe & Med:
      • 53 cancelled sailings have been announced between week 46 (November 13-19) and week 50 (December 11-17), out of a total of 650 scheduled sailings, representing 8% cancellation rate.
      • During this period, 42% of the blank sailings will occur on the Transpacific Eastbound, 42% on Asia-North Europe and Med, and 17% on the Transatlantic Westbound trade.