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US imports to begin recovery, but remain below 2022

According to the NRF, US imports will begin to climb this month after experiencing their lowest level since May 2022 last month. However, the YoY comparisons will remain well below 2022. The NRF also said the month-on-month increases will continue through mid-summer. 

February 2023 imports are projected at 1.56 million TEU, down 13.6% from January, 26.2% lower than February 2022, and the lowest level since the crash in May 2022.

GPT forecasts that imports for March will be 1.74 million TEU, then increase to 1.87 million TEU in April, 1.92 million TEU in May, 2 million TEU in June, and 2.13 million TEU in July. However, YoY imports for each month will be well below 2022 figures. Starting in July, imports will be mostly on par with 2022. July 2023 imports are projected to be down just 2.5% from the same period last year.

Retailers want to avoid over-ordering product from factories in Asia until they get a better handle on consumer demand in late-summer. Import volumes are low. However, strong wages and a tight labor market are helping consumers absorb the impact of inflation and continue to spend.

A transportation industry consultant said retailers will determine how much they order from Asian factories in the coming months based on the type of products they are carrying over. Retailers have to replenish certain merchandise and have a good handle on how much redundant product to order. Additionally, retailers are trying to determine how much seasonal merchandise to order.

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Maersk to shift detention billing to consignees

Maersk will begin billing container detention charges to consignees on merchant haulage moves starting on April 1st. This move foreshadows the evolving practices related to new FMC requirements.  

A Maersk spokesperson said, “With the FMC’s ongoing rulemaking process, we’re aiming to line up a better billing process that helps truckers and customers.”

Maersk’s changes come as the FMC is in the middle of a rulemaking process surrounding detention and demurrage billing mandated by OSRA-22. The new legislation sought to clarify billing practices.

The initial rulemaking by the FMC proposes that “a properly issued invoice is only issued to the person that has contracted with the billing party for the carriage of goods or space to store cargo, and the billed party is responsible for the payment of any incurred demurrage or detention charge.”

An FMC spokesperson said the agency received about 90 comments on the proposed rulemaking. The FMC must issue final rules by June 16th.

OSRA-22’s billing mandate should simplify the process by requiring the billing parties to be contractually bound. However, one drayage carrier said trucking companies will experience a shift from one paperwork headache to another.

The same provider said charging the consignee would help truckers more than hurt them. However, he urged the FMC and shipping lines to consider potential unintended consequences.

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About O’Neill Logistics

O’Neill Logistics is a leading third party logistics provider. We operate in California, Savannah, New Jersey. We service many verticals including Garments, Fashion Accessories, Footwear, Furniture, Home Goods, & Electronics. Additionally, we offer omni-channel distribution and all value-added services. Lastly, we focus on retail “drop shipment” fulfillment and item-level fulfillment services with same-day service offerings.

O’Neill Logistics has over 2 million square feet of state-of-the-art facilities. Additionally, we offer dray services to support the warehouses and provide distribution to retailers and wholesalers. Our reliable 3PL platform combines sophisticated technology with robust, flexible processing designs and speed-to-market gateway models.

Lastly, we aim to simplify your supply chain. We deliver exceptional service and can optimize your operational performance. Therefore, we aim to build, protect and foster strong business partnerships.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions or need assistance with your logistics solutions!