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MFW Musings – November 2023

Industry Insights / November 27, 2023

The U.S. imported 2,307,918 twenty-foot equivalent units of containerized goods last month. (source: FreightWaves)

  • This represents a 3.9% year over year growth and 4.7% month over month growth.
  • Imports have grown 33% from their recent low in February.
  • Despite this, Maersk Group cut 10,000 jobs this month, indicating we are still in a soft market.

The overall LMI was up 4.1 points to 56.5 in October. (source:

  • Although this is the third straight month the growth rate increased, it remains below the all-time average of 62.8.

US Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) went down to 46.7 this month. (source: Statista)

  • This records the 12th reduction in a row, making a full year of reduction.
  • New Orders also withdrew to 45.5, 3.7% lower than last month.

The ATA reported October truck tonnage ratio to be 116.3, which is an increase from last year, but down from last month’s reading of 119.1. The report considers 2015 to be 100. (source: Transport Topics)

  • Being up 2.8% from last year is nice, but the reduction from last month shows a weakening market moving into Q4 and the winter season.

Retail sales reduced slightly in October. (Source:

  • After a significant drop in September, the 0.1% drop is good to see.
  • Retail sales are up year over year by 2.5%.

The Cass Freight Index has dropped both year over year and month over month. (source:

  • The expenditures index was 3.375, down 2.2% from last month and a whopping 23.3% from last year.
  • The shipments index was 1.108, down 4.7% from last month but only down 9.5% from last year.

The west coast ports of LA and Long Beach reported strong import throughput in October. (source: TheLoadStar)

  • Los Angeles alone processed 372,455 TEU, an increase of 10.7% year over year with Long Beach jumping 23.6% year over year.
  • October was the third month in a row where the US East and Gulf coast ports underperformed their west coast rivals, seeing a 5.1% year over year decline in import TEUs, while volume across west coast ports was up 12.7%.
  • Part of this transition seems to be driven by the ongoing draught restrictions at the Panama Canal, prompting shippers in Asia-US lanes to take the shorter west coast route.

Load board fraud is on the rise across the industry. (source:

  • According to, marketplace fraud increased 400% from the 4th quarter of 2021 to the 4th quarter of 2022.
  • Once a phishing scam captures a user’s credentials, it can be used to fraudulently phish loads, steal loads in transit or double broker loads.