A surge of inbound shipping containers, no boom for exports

From U.S. Imports at Full Speed Show Uneven Global Recovery Pace (Bloomberg):

A surge of imports into the U.S. economy shows little sign of slowing down, clogging American ports and highlighting ways the pandemic is still causing imbalances in the global recovery.

Consider the number of inbound shipping containers through the 10 largest U.S. ports. They rose 12.5% in January from a year earlier after a 23% surge a month earlier and a 25% jump in November, according to data compiled by John McCown, an industry veteran and founder of Blue Alpha Capital.

But American exports have seen no such boom: The volume of outbound containers fell 7.6% in January from a year ago, the 12th straight drop. […]

It doesn’t appear to be abating either, with ocean-bound cargo still pouring into the U.S., even during the typically slower weeks after the Lunar New Year holiday in Asia.

According to a tally released Monday by Hapag-Lloyd AG, Germany’s biggest shipping line, a total of 60 container carriers were anchored outside the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland in California, and Savannah, Georgia, on the East Coast — little changed from the backlog at those four gateways two weeks ago.

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