Each week, you’ll learn about another index found within SONAR, the freight forecasting platform from FreightWaves. This week the Customs Maritime Import Shipments (CSTM) is highlighted. This index allows SONAR subscribers to view leading indicators of domestic trucking activity in the near future, and plan for trucking capacity and freight rates. Read further to learn what the CSTM is and how knowing the incoming volume of ocean imports will provide a more proactive approach to freight management.
The CSTM displays data related to import ocean shipments into the U.S. as reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP). This is the total number of import ocean shipments and includes both containerized and non-containerized goods.
This is available in the following time frames:
Using this data, a SONAR subscriber is able to understand how U.S. import volumes are trending before they are officially reported by each port authority in their monthly summaries of volume statistics; these usually come out around the 15th of the following month without SONAR.
View U.S. import ocean shipments per country of origin (i.e. China to U.S. – CSTM.CHNUSA), on a lane level (LCSTM), or a U.S. port-specific level (ICSTM). This enables you to monitor how U.S. importers are responding to global trends in international trade, and how that is likely to affect the domestic truckload and intermodal markets here in the U.S.
When freight participants in the market understand the CSTM, they can understand demand, plan for capacity shortages or boons, and get a better leading indicator of trucking rates moving from those markets where these major ports are located. Let’s take a look at how various freight market participants use CSTM to monitor ocean imports volumes and plan accordingly:
Use CSTM with Port Import Market Share (PIMS) to see the market share of one particular U.S. port relative to all other U.S. ports. The Port Import Market Share (PIMS) displays the market share that each U.S. port is capturing of the total U.S. Customs Maritime Import Shipments on a monthly basis. The U.S. ports labeled in this ticker are the U.S. ports that were identified as the ports of entry on the bill of lading when the shipments were cleared for entry by USCBP. There is only one port of entry for each shipment.
PIMS tells you how many shipments are being cleared through each port by USCBP. In other words, of all ocean imports shipments that are being cleared through U.S. ports each month, what percentage is moving through a specific port of entry. PIMS shows you the clear shifts in volume each month between all U.S. ports of entry. This can be important when trying to distinguish how U.S. importers are choosing to route their shipments and can be a lead indicator for which parts of the country are receiving more import shipment volumes. Consequently, you can determine which are likely to create more outbound truckload and intermodal volumes.
Here is an example of using the CTMS in combination with the Freightos Baltic Daily Index (FBXD) (screenshot image below) to plan for future rates for the next month as explained by FreightWaves’ Market Expert, Henry Byers in “Daily Watch:”
“As Golden Week in China winds down and workers come back online, U.S. ocean imports demand remains elevated on a year-over-year basis. Ocean carriers are still claiming that their vessels will continue to be mostly full for the rest of October with minimal blank sailings, and that forecast is certainly confirmed via FreightWaves SONAR ocean bookings data that shows that bookings for the next 7 days are indeed elevated on nearly every major import lane.
“Despite the year-over-year increase in demand, ocean rates appear to have reached their peak, so rates should remain relatively stable for the remainder of October and decline slightly from there through the end of the year. Currently, the average rate for a 40-foot container (per FEU) from China to North America West Coast is down about $40 week-over-week to $3,840 per FEU. As for China to North American East Coast container rates, they are down around $10 per FEU week-over-week, and currently sit at $4,677 per FEU.”
In uncertain times, freight market participants need certainty to stay ahead of the freight market and understand the freight demand occurring in each participant’s most important lanes. The freight forecasting engine, FreightWaves SONAR, allows participants to benchmark, analyze, monitor and forecast freight demand and costs to ensure more proactive responses to the market, the ability to provide a solid customer experience by offering transparency and make faster, more informed decisions. Get a demo of SONAR to see what the platform can do for you.