The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its first Ocean Shipping Container Availability Report, utilizing data provided by 10 major global container lines in the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement.

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Going forward, the report will provide freight shippers with a weekly snapshot of current equipment availability at 18 inland intermodal load points, in the form of aggregate net surplus or deficit totals for the participating carriers. It will also forecast likely availability at each location two weeks out, based on advance carrier bookings. In its current form the report strikes a balance, identifying areas in the U.S. where potentially surplus equipment accumulates throughout the year but also retaining an accurate, real-world understanding of what the container surplus and deficit data actually represent.