WASHINGTON, 2016-Sep-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should be at near-peak levels this month even as retailers work to cope with the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today (September 9, 2016) by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“Hanjin should not significantly affect volume for the month since alternative arrangements to unload those containers or shift cargo elsewhere should be dealt with by the time the numbers are tallied,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “But millions of dollars worth of merchandise is in limbo at the moment, and retailers are working hard to make sure it ends up on store shelves in time for the holidays.”
Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.63 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in July, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 3.2 percent from June and up 0.7 percent from July 2015. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.
August was estimated at 1.67 million TEU, down 0.4 percent from last year, and is expected to have been the busiest month of the annual shipping-cycle buildup to the holiday shopping season. September is forecast at 1.62 million TEU, down 0.2 percent from last year; October at 1.63 million TEU, up 5.3 percent from last year; November at 1.53 million TEU, up 3.8 percent, and December at 1.49 million TEU, up 3.6 percent.
Those numbers should bring 2016 to a total of 18.6 million TEU, up 1.8 percent from last year. Total volume for 2015 was 18.2 million TEU, up 5.4 percent from 2014. The first half of 2016 totaled 9 million TEU, up 1.6 percent from the same period in 2015.
“Despite the apparent slowdown in economic activity being reported around the world, the volume of imports continues to grow slowly, much along the lines that we have been projecting,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said.
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. The report is free to NRF retail members, and subscription information is available at www.nrf.com/PortTracker or by calling (202) 783-7971. Subscription information for non-members can be found at www.globalporttracker.com.
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com
J. Craig Shearman