Retail import volume will grow to 1.48 million TEUs at the largest domestic ports in September, a 5.1-percent increase in activity over the same period last year, according to the Global Port Tracker
released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The final August results have not been released, but they were expected to be around 1.48 million TEUs; if the prediction holds, that would show a 4.1 percent year-over-year increase. In July, domestic ports saw activity of 1.43 million TEUs, a 5.4 percent increase over June. The July result was good for a 1.1 percent rise over July 2012.
Port tracker measures volumes at four West Coast terminals, six East Coast terminals and the Port of Houston.
The sunny September prediction tells analysts that retailers are recovering from a slow import market seen earlier in 2013.
“It’s too early to predict holiday sales, but merchants are clearly stocking up,” the NRF’s Jonathan Gold said in a statement.
Continuing predictions, Global Port Tracker
expects activity to wane a bit in the closing months of the year. October activity is predicted at 1.46 million TEUs, with November coming in at 1.31 million TEUs. These are still significant improvements over 2012’s results, with the monthly numbers representing growth of 9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. Ports will see 1.3 million TEUs in December, a year-over-year improvement of less than 1 percent.
Overall, 2013’s domestic activity is expected to show a 2.5 percent improvement over 2012’s result of 15.8 million TEUs.
“The U.S. economy is on the road to sustained growth,” Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, said in a statement. “Second-quarter GDP was well above expectations and surprised most forecasters, the unemployment picture is improving, and we believe consumer confidence will translate into increased sales during the fourth quarter.” - Jon Ross