Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 3.9 percent in December despite a strike that closed the nation’s largest port complex for the first few days of the month, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released Monday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The NRF said retailers are keeping a close watch on a possible strike on the East and Gulf coasts.
“After a strong kickoff on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the holiday season is looking good and these numbers reflect that,” NRF Vice president for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Nonetheless, we narrowly avoided what could have been a long-term disruption with the strike in Los Angeles and Long Beach and don’t want to run that risk on the East Coast and Gulf Coast. NRF is continuing to urge labor, management and lawmakers to do whatever is necessary to keep our nation’s ports running smoothly.”
U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.39 million TEUs in October, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 1 percent from September, but up 5.2 percent from October 2011.
November was estimated at 1.22 million TEUs, down 5.6 percent from last year. The downturn was due in part to the eight-day strike that closed most terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach beginning in the last few days of November, but also because November is a traditionally weak month after most holiday cargo has arrived.
Port Tracker said December is forecast at 1.27 million TEUs, up 3.9 percent from last year, with January forecast at 1.31 million TEUs, up 2 percent from January 2012; February at 1.15 million TEUs, up 5.9 percent; March at 1.27 million TEUs, up 2 percent, and April at 1.35 million TEUs, up 3.2 percent.
Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett
Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Long Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland,
Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton
Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the East
Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast. - Chris Dupin