Fewer container ships in US waters show slowdown in trade Ship’s crew

By Kevin Varley (Bloomberg) —

The number of container ships in US coastal waters has fallen to less than half the number a year ago, in the latest ominous sign of a slowdown in global trade.

As of late Sunday, 106 container ships were both in port and offshore, compared with 218 at this time last year, down 51%, according to shipping data analyzed by Bloomberg.

Data from IHS Markit showed that the weekly number of port calls in US waters had slowed to 1,105 by March 4 from 1,906 a year earlier. This is the lowest level since mid-September 2020.

Bad weather can be partly to blame. More broadly, a slowdown in global consumer demand – fueled by weaker economic growth and higher inflation – means fewer ships are needed to move goods from Asia’s main manufacturing hubs to the US and Europe.

Ships in the Port of New York/New Jersey currently facing arrival winter stormfell to just three late Sunday, compared to a two-year average of 10. There were 15 ships in the Los Angeles and Long Beach shipping hub on the west coast, where a median of 25 ships normally resides.

Meanwhile, idle capacity on container ships in February was near the highest level since August 2020, according to a maritime adviser drewry.

© 2023 Bloomberg LP

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