Container imports expected to benefit from retail surge
Import container volume in March is expected to reach 1.28 million TEU at major U.S. retail container ports, a 12.4-percent increase over March 2013, as retailers begin to stock up for spring and summer business, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report.
Released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, the report forecasts trends at ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah,
Port Everglades, Miami and Houston.
"Retailers are bouncing back from the annual post-holiday slowdown and getting ready for the surge in activity that comes each year as the weather warms up,” said Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the NRF. “Congestion has been a problem for many ports during this slowdown, so operations will need to improve to handle the expected surge in the coming months."
Cargo movement at some ports has been slowed by a number of issues recently, including severe winter weather and shortages of labor and equipment.
The report forecasts that in the first half of the year, the same ports will handle 8 million TEU of imports, up 3.5 percent over last year. NRF is forecasting 4.1-percent sales growth in 2014, contingent on how Washington, D.C., policies on economic issues affect consumer confidence.
The report's volume forecast for months ahead is: April at 1.36 million TEU, up 5.1 percent; May at 1.44 million TEU, up 3.7 percent; June at 1.43 million TEU, up 5.3 percent; and July at 1.49 million TEU, up 3.4 percent.