Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Shipping Stats Bode Poorly for Consumer Demand


Imports up, exports down, and less money to spend overall.


Container shipping stats at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, as well as those at the Port of Portland, Oregon, are all down. This is consistent with the collapse of the Baltic Dry Shipping Index.

Inbound container stats year to date are down 9.0% year to date at LA, 10.8% at Long Beach, and 9.9% at Portland. This doesn't bode well for expected consumer demand headed into the all-important Christmas season.

And based on the new age of consumer frugality, with frugality to appear In state budgets as well, I expect this trend toward lower TEUs to last far more than one year. It's payback time for many years of massive over-consumption on housing-financed debt and loose lending standards.

With that backdrop, let's take a look at a few container shipping charts. The size of cargo containers range from 20 feet long to more than 50 feet long. The international measure is the smallest box, the 20-footer or 20-foot-equivalent unit (TEUs).

Port of Long Beach

Container Trade in TEUs

Click to enlarge

The charts show exports are up, imports are way down, and the year-to-date TEUs are negative. At the Port of Long Beach, this will be only the second decline in TEUs since 1995. The last decline was in 2001, during the last recession.

Port of Los Angeles

Port of Portland

Marine Shipping Statistics from the Port of Portland

  • Number of calls by oceangoing vessels -4.1% change calendar year-to-date

  • Total tonnage 4.5% change calendar year-to-date

  • Breakbulk total tonnage -8.6% change calendar year-to-date

  • Number of containers (TEUs) total, load + discharge -6.6% change calendar year-to-date

  • Number of containers (TEU) load -9.9% change calendar year-to-date

  • Number of containers (teu) discharge -2.1% change calendar year-to-date

  • Grain tonnage 10.2% change calendar year-to-date

  • Auto units -2.8% change calendar year-to-date

  • Mineral bulk tonnage 8.1% change calendar year-to-date

Grains and minerals are up at Portland (exports); everything else is down. Indeed, imports are down and exports are up across the board at all 3 ports. This is additional evidence that the vaunted US consumer has at long last thrown in the towel.

< Previous
  • 1
Next >
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Videos