American retailers’ import volumes kept rising in May

The United States’ National Retail Federation’s (NRF) monthly Global Port Tracker indicates that U.S. ports handled 1.85 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 6 percent from April and up 1.4 percent year-over-year.

June was estimated at 1.87 million TEU, up only 0.8 percent year-over-year. July is forecast at 1.93 million TEU, up 1.3 percent; August at 1.96 million TEU, up 3.4 percent; September at 1.89 million, up 1.1 percent; October at 1.94 million TEU, down 4.5 percent, and November at 1.88 million TEU, up 4.3 percent.

Imports during 2018 set a record of 21.8 million TEU, an increase of 6.2 percent over 2017’s previous record of 20.5 million TEU. The first half of 2019 totaled an estimated 10.6 million TEU, up 2.8 percent over the first half of 2018.

“Retailers still want to protect their customers against potential price increases that would come with any additional tariffs, but with the latest proposed tariffs on hold for now and warehouses bulging, there’s only so much they can do,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “We will still see some near-record numbers this summer, but right now no one knows whether there will be additional tariffs or not. We hope the restarted negotiations with China will result in significant reforms rather than more tariffs that tax American companies and consumers.”

Source: NRF

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