Demand destruction is happening…

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“The Demand For Random Crap Suddenly Vanished, Taking Everyone By Surprise”

At the beginning of 2022, things were economically pretty peachy. Too peachy, one could argue: People were buying so much stuff that our ports and terminals could barely handle the massive import volume. Companies were desperate for someone, anyone, to come work for them. And movie theaters, offices, planes and other locales many eschewed during the pandemic were poised to bounce back; the omicron wave appeared mild compared to previous bouts of the coronavirus.

The vibes were good. Now, the vibes are completely terrible.

Alert! US import demand is dropping off a cliff

The latest ocean container bookings data reveals that despite the strong levels of inbound cargo during the first five months of 2022, import demand is not just softening — it’s dropping off a cliff. Because capacity on the trans-Pacific has remained relatively stable, Freightos’ container spot rates from China to the West Coast have plunged 38% month-over-month to $9,630.

Freight forwarders will enjoy expanding margins on ocean freight, while U.S. trucking carriers and intermodal volume providers may start to see volume risks.

Consumer buying patterns are rapidly normalizing to pre-COVID levels, and U.S. retailers are stuck with too much inventory. Target (NYSE: TGT) shares dropped Tuesday morning after executives said the company would mark down unwanted items, cancel purchase orders and move quickly to get rid of excess inventory.

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