Import cargo volume at U.S. container ports is expected to increase 3.2% this month

According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) import cargo volumes at U.S. major retail container ports for the month of December are expected to be up 3.2 percent as stores bring in the last of the merchandise for the holiday season.

“There’s still shopping to be done, and retailers are making sure the gifts that need to be under a tree are waiting on the shelves,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Imports are up a healthy amount over this time last year, and that’s a good sign for holiday sales and the economy.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.67 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in October, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 4.6 percent from September and up 7.4 percent from October 2015. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

November was estimated at 1.53 million TEU, up 3.6 percent from last year, and December is forecast at 1.48 million TEU, up 3.2 percent.

The numbers come as NRF is forecasting $655.8 billion in holiday sales, a 3.6 percent increase over last year. Cargo volume does not correlate directly to sales because only the number of containers is counted, not the value of the cargo inside. But it nonetheless serves as a barometer of retailers’ expectations.

Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Los 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.

Source: NRF

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