Growth was also seen over pre-pandemic levels, with Q1 laden imports up 17.6% compared to the first quarter of 2019. "This shows that the demand boom is far from over," said Alan Murphy, Sea-Intelligence CEO. Total transported volumes were also up, by 14.8% compare to Q1 2020 and 12.3% compare to Q1 2019.
Empty container exports shot up as carriers tried to reposition empties to alleviate delays caused by equipment shortages. Empty exports grew by 51.2% year-on-year in Q1 2021, up by 25.6% compared to Q1 2019. “While the latter figure is lower, and in line with the year-on-year growth in 2019, the laden export to empty export ratio has decreased considerably in the past few months and has been stable at 1.0-1.1 since August 2020,” said Murphy.
For combined North America import volumes, laden imports were up 30.3% in Q1 2021 compared to the year prior, and 19.1% up on Q1 2019; empty exports rose 67.2% year-on-year, up 32.6% over Q1 2019. Laden exports fell by 6.0% year-on-year and were 5.1% lower than the first quarter 2019.
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