London (18 February 2021) – US containerized imports from Asia are up 14 percent in January 2021 compared to a year ago, indicating no slowdown in the volume surge, the container squeeze and unprecedented shipping rates, according to new IHS Markit data.

Containerized imports from Asia, a key barometer of retailers’ expectations for US consumer demand, hit 1.59 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in January 2021, only a slight dip from 1.6 million in TEU imports in December 2020. Reflecting the shift towards physical goods during the pandemic in the six months to January 2021, US containerized imports from Asia are up 19 percent, at 9.7 million TEU compared to the same period a year ago.

“The most recent Asian import reading, retailers’ forward looking expectations and discussions with container lines and transportation intermediaries all suggest that the unprecedented import pressures on the US-to-Asia containerized supply chain aren’t letting up anytime soon.” – Mark Szakonyi, Executive Editor of The Journal of Commerce and

The unrelenting volume pressures, sparking historic levels of US port congestion at gateways like Los Angeles-Long Beach, resulting in shipment delays and sending shipping rates rocketing, is set to continue well into 2021, as the industry gathers for TPM21the world’s largest container shipping conference. How to effectively respond to challenges, such as an historic backup of vessels at anchor outside major container gateways such as Los Angeles-Long Beach, will be major topic of discussions at the virtual TPM21 running from 25 February to 3 March....