CONTAINER freight market participants are uneasy toward peak import season and beyond as booking inquiries for US imports remain under pressure amid rising inflation and weak economic outlook, reports Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide.
Transpacific volumes and booking inquiries have dropped further in the final weeks of the second quarter.
In-kind freight on the North Asia-North America run has been under pressure during the second quarter as vessel space has opened up.
PCR13 - North Asia-to-West Coast North America - slid 10 per cent during Q2, on top of a dip in volumes from extensive lockdowns in and around Shanghai.
Despite easing restrictions in Asia, volumes have failed to rebound to meet prior expectations.
"Forecasts from BCOs and NVOCCs alike, show a weakness in the TPEB market through June, possibly mid-July. Other importers moved peak season goods earlier than usual to avoid anticipated space issues similar to the problems they had in [Q3] 2021," said analyst Jon Monroe.
It has prompted widespread uncertainty among market participants as to the magnitude of the North American peak import season.
Total US imports slid 63,000 TEU between March and April to 2.56 million TEU.
"We do see the beginnings of a decline in the growth rate of imports in the second half of the year," said Global Port Tracker.
"Despite this, we expect to see continued shipping capacity constraints and a likelihood of a recovery in freight rates from their recent declines as the uptick in volumes from China is felt."
The Port of New York/New Jersey reported a 15.6 per cent bump in loaded imports during April.
Much of the volume growth on the Eastern Seaboard has been attributed to shippers looking to reroute cargo away from congested west coast gateways.
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