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Port of New York sets new monthly record for container volume in March

The Port of New York and New Jersey posted its highest-ever monthly container volume in March as imports surged while also drawing cargoes away from congested US West Coast ports, the Port Authority said May 5.

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Total throughput was 789,776 twenty-foot equivalent units in March, beating the previous monthly record from October 2020 by 34,339 TEUs.

The March total was a 40.8% increase from the same month last year when the coronavirus outbreak largely brought global trade to a halt, underlining the staggering reversal in demand for space on containerships over the past year.

It was also worrying sign that US East Coast ports could face the same port congestion issues that have diverted cargoes from the West Coast. The ports of Long Beach and Oakland, California, also set volume records for March as the Port of Los Angeles reached capacity for container imports from Asia, which have yet to show any sign of slowing.

Total import volumes at the Port of New York and New Jersey in March were 393,159 TEUs, a year-on-year increase of 44.8%. Loaded exports volumes fell by 7.4% over the same period, but exports of empty containers in March grew by 78% year on year.

"This reflects the need to reposition empty containers around the globe to provide the equipment necessary to support the strong cargo demand," the Port Authority said.

Platts Container Rate 5 - North Asia to East Coast North America - was assessed at $5,700/FEU on May 5, an increase of 107% from the year-ago date.