U.S. containerized imports experienced a 7% year-over-year drop in March 2013, according to recent figures from PIERS. Total U.S. containerized imports fell to 1.26 million TEUs, the first month with a volume below 1.3 million TEUs since February 2012.
“Box imports fell markedly in March mainly because the regular 2-week closing of Chinese factories on Lunar New Year festivities was late compared to 2012, inducing tough year-over-year comparisons. This is evidenced by a sharp volume contraction of 18% YoY from China,” said, PIERS/JOC economist Mario Moreno.
Imports fell in March versus February 2013 by 11.2%, which is abnormal for this time of year. February 2013 had seen a year-over-year jump of 20%.
The largest declines among the top 25 imported goods were in computers, down 24%; lamps and parts, down 20%; and toys, down 19%, all compared to March 2012. Leading the gains were fruits, jumping 20% versus March 2012; non-alcoholic beverages and bananas, both up 11%; and still wines, up 10%.
Among the top 25 source countries, shipments from Hong Kong decreased the most in March, by 26.5% year-over-year to 20,876 TEUs. Mainland China followed with an 18% year-over-year drop to 473,530 TEUs, while Taiwan’s volume fell 17% to 34,550. Of the largest increases, U.S. imports from Costa Rica jumped 23% to 17,805 TEUs. Shipments from Guatemala totaled 26,591 TEUs in the month, up 21.5%. Imports from the Netherlands saw growth of 21.3% in March to 24,102 TEUs.
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