Though Q3 of 2012 is up 3.8% from 2011

US vessel imports down another 3.6% in September

Zepol Corporation reports that U.S. import shipment volume for September, measured in TEUs, is down 3.6% from August, but is up from September of 2011 by 2.6%. Imports of TEUs shifted from over 1.6 million last month to 1.55 million in September. The downward trend of the last two months of Q3 indicates that the peak month for U.S. imports in 2012 will most likely be July. For the past three years the month of August has seen the highest vessel imports, but this year the surge in goods for the holiday season seems to have come even earlier in Q3.

"Q3 of 2012 is up 3.8% from Q3 of last year," states Zepol's CEO Paul Rassmussen, "U.S. importers may be feeling optimistic about the economy and preparing early for a busier shopping season than 2011."

A Closer Look at U.S. Imports for September:
Exporting Countries- The majority of Asian countries saw a drop in shipments to the United States from August to September, but an overall rise in Q3 compared to Q3 of last year. China had a slight rise from Q3 of 2011 by 0.57%, but South Korea and Japan rose more significantly by 8.5% and 3%, respectively. Hong Kong actually saw a hefty drop in the third quarter of 2012 compared to last year by 12.2%. U.S. imports from Europe also fell from August to September, but had major increases when comparing Q3 numbers. Germany increased in imports by 14.6% from Q3 of 2011 and Italy was not far behind at 13.7%.

U.S. Ports- The Port of Los Angeles was the only port in the top ten to increase TEU numbers from August to September. Los Angeles imported more than 20,000 containers in September from August, a rise of over 5%. For Q3, most U.S. ports saw a rise in imports compared with Q3 of last year. The Port of Newark/New York saw a large increase in imports of 6.9% and the Ports of Norfolk and Houston also had a busy Q3, with increases of 20% and 12.8%, respectively.
Carriers- Maersk Line was one of the only major carriers to increase in TEU imports from August to September. The VOCC (vessel-operating common carrier) rose 6.3% from August and hauled more than 175,000 TEUs to the United States in September. For Q3, nine out of the top 10 carriers increased from last year's numbers. Mediterranean Shipping Company and APL Group both rose over 6% and Hanjin Shipping Company and Maersk increased in TEUs by over 11%. Overall, Q3 is the top quarter for U.S. imports and this year has by far surpassed 2011 in import volume.

Zepol's data is derived from Bills of Lading entered into U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). This information represents the number of House manifests entered by importers of waterborne vessel goods. This is the earliest indicator for trade data available for the previous month’s import activity. The data excludes shipments from empty containers, excludes shipments labeled as freight remaining on board, and may contain other data anomalies.

For more information:
Chelsea Craven
Zepol Corporation
Tel: +1 612.435.2179

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