The Inbound Ocean TEU Volume Index (IOTI), which measures maritime bookings for twenty-foot equivalent units for U.S. imports, is set to hit an all-time high this week. The IOTI starts in January 2019 but covers one of the most active periods in maritime shipping thanks to the pandemic. With imports being tied more closely than ever to surface freight volumes and transportation demand, this could be a signal of an extremely active summer for domestic surface transportation providers.
Import booking activity measures freight that will hit the U.S. two to six weeks in advance and has been connected to surface transportation volumes over the past year. After a quicker-than-anticipated recovery in consumer spending on durable goods last spring, shippers found themselves low on inventory and began placing orders at a record pace last May.