Busy ports are witnessing rising cross-border trade

May 25, 2018

The Nowcasts of Global Kuehne + Nagel Indicators (gKNi) show an upward trend in the world’s largest ports. Despite trade tensions, the ports in the United States and Asia reach new record highs in May.

In particular, the ports in the United States are experiencing increased container volumes. The real-time data collected by LogIndex, part of Kuehne + Nagel Group, indicates heavy traffic in top ports such as Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York or New Jersey. Notably, the inbound loaded container volumes jump while the quantity of outgoing loaded twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) tends to decrease.


Port of Long Beach: Forecast for new record in May 2018

Here is a showcase of the strong import trend: the metric for inbound TEU in Long Beach - alongside the Port of Los Angeles the gateway for trans-­Pacific trade - is up by 11% compared to the same period in 2017 (April: 8.4% YoY), according to LogIndex estimates for May. Four months into 2018, the Port of Long Beach has moved 2.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units, 17% above last year’s record pace.

Overall, cargo and container throughput in the world’s largest ports has risen by 3.2% year to date, with the biggest increase in Singapore (+6.2%) based on nowcasts from LogIndex. So far, there are no direct ramifications owed to lingering trade tensions. Other imports statistics imply a business-as-usual-mode - at first glance at least: The import of iron and steel reached an 8-month high in April (+75% YoY), based on LogIndex’s analysis of Bills of Lading (BOL, in USD). However, some commentators suggest that the strong growth is partly driven, in fact, by the trade tensions as anxious shippers rush to get their cargo to overseas markets.


United States: The import of iron and steel reached an 8-month high in April .

World trade is inching up based on the country forecasts available for May and June. There are regional differences - Asia is very dynamic, in contrast to Europe, digesting the high euro during the first quarter. The United States, Australia, Canada are the fastest growing countries in the group of Advanced Economies, posting a year-over-year rate of 4.7% compared to 16.1% of Emerging Markets according to LogIndex’s estimates for May.