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2023 peak season set to be subdued

With a comprehensive network of international container shipping services, including LCL and FCL import and export operations, the U-Freight Group notes reports that US containerized imports are showing signs of stabilizing, if not yet showing a significant rally, as supply chain trends return to some semblance of new normal following the dramatic two-year, pandemic-driven surge in imports and consumer demand.Total US imports hit nearly 2.1 million teu in May, according to data from PIERS, a sister company of the Journal of Commerce within S&P Global. Although that was the highest total monthly import volume this year, it was still down more than 20% from the same month in 2022, continuing a streak of year-over-year double-digit declines that started last November.As the trans-Pacific prepares to enter its busiest quarter of the year, the question now is whether this period is a correction that will lead to increased stability, or whether further receding will occur.For now, the peak season is shaping up to be dull — a recent CNBC survey revealed that retailers expect a weak holiday season, marked by heavy discounting, an indication that holiday-related imports could be week through the summer-fall peak season.What does this mean for shippers, carriers, and forwarders and the prospect for accessorial charges? Will carriers be forced to lay up capacity, leading to more blank sailings in the fall? And, with a tentative West Coast labor agreement reached between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association, will importers re-evaluate their routing decisions, leading to West Coast ports recapturing some of the market share they’ve shed during the uncertainty around negotiations?These are certainly some of the questions exercising the minds of U-Freight staff working in our ocean freight departments around the world. Why not give them a call to discuss their opinions and find out more about the U-Freight Group’s ocean freight services, or just visit the relevant pages of this website.