NRF monthly Global Port Tracker report: retail imports should see steady increases through the summer and into the fall

WASHINGTON, 2017-May-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports should see steady increases through the summer and into the fall, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today (May 9, 2017) by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Regardless of whether the sales come in their stores or through their websites, retailers see that consumers are buying more this year and they’re importing the goods needed to meet the demand,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “With unemployment at its lowest level in a decade and the economy adding jobs, retailers expect shoppers to continue to increase their spending.”

“In the United States, the economy continues to slowly grow,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “Gross domestic product was lower than expected in the first quarter but unemployment has dropped to levels not seen since before the Great Recession and, best of all, labor employment has increased dramatically. Our view, therefore, remains unchanged: There is nothing to worry about in the first half of the year, and growth is expected to continue in the second half even if it comes at a slower rate.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.53 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in March, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 6.8 percent from February, when many Asian factories closed for Lunar New Year, and up 15.8 percent from unusually low numbers the same month a year ago, when Lunar New Year came a week later than this year. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

April was estimated at 1.56 million TEU, up 8.3 percent from the same time last year. May is forecast at 1.66 million TEU, up 2.6 percent from last year; June at 1.62 million TEU, up 3.3 percent; July at 1.68 million TEU, up 3.1 percent; August at 1.74 million TEU, up 1.6 percent, and September at 1.65 million TEU, up 3.6 percent.

The first half of 2017 is expected to total 9.5 million TEU, up 5.6 percent from the first half of 2016. Cargo volume for 2016 totaled 18.8 million TEU, up 3.1 percent from 2015, which had grown 5.4 percent from 2014.

NRF has forecast that 2017 retail sales – excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – will increase between 3.7 and 4.2 percent over 2016, driven by job and income growth coupled with low debt. Cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales because only the number of containers is counted, not the value of the cargo inside, but nonetheless provides 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. 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.com

Hackett Associates provides expert consulting, research and advisory services to the international maritime industry, government agencies and international institutions. www.hackettassociates.com

Contact:
J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF/Hackett Associates report: Retail imports should continue to increase throughout spring and summer as economy improves

WASHINGTON, 2017-Apr-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports should continue to see strong increases throughout the spring and summer as the nation’s economy improves, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Consumers are spending more, and these import numbers show that retailers expect that to continue for a significant period,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “This is a clear sign that the economy has long-term momentum regardless of month-to-month fluctuations. Whether it’s merchandise for store shelves or parts for U.S. factories, imports play a vital role in American prosperity.”

“Our view that imports will continue to be stable despite the uncertainties of the new administration’s trade policies remains unchanged,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “Despite pre-election promises, there has been little real change in trade policy so far and little change is expected for the greater part of the year.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.43 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in February, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was a decrease of 14.3 percent from January as many Asian factories shut down for Lunar New Year, and down 7 percent from the same month a year ago. Coming after the winter holidays and before retailers stock up for summer, February is historically the slowest month of the year for imports. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

March was estimated at 1.61 million TEU, up 21.5 percent from unusually low numbers last year, when Lunar New Year came a week later than this year. April is forecast at 1.59 million TEU, up 10.3 percent from last year; May at 1.68 million TEU, up 3.5 percent; June at 1.66 million TEU, up 5.3 percent; July at 1.71 million TEU, up 5.1 percent, and August at 1.74 million TEU, up 1.6 percent.

The first half of 2017 is expected to total 9.6 million TEU, up 7.3 percent from the first half of 2016. Cargo volume for 2016 totaled 18.8 million TEU, up 3.1 percent from 2015, which had grown 5.4 percent from 2014.

NRF has forecast that 2017 retail sales – excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – will increase between 3.7 and 4.2 percent over 2016, driven by job and income growth coupled with low debt. Cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales because only the number of containers is counted, not the value of the cargo inside, but nonetheless provides 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. 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.com

Hackett Associates provides expert consulting, research and advisory services to the international maritime industry, government agencies and international institutions. www.hackettassociates.com

Contact:

J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Pres

Source: NRF

NRF and Hackett Associates report: Imports at major retail container ports saw an unexpected increase during the holiday season

WASHINGTON, 2017-Jan-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports saw an unexpected increase during the industry’s busy holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today (January 9, 2017) by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“We won’t see final sales numbers for a few more days, but import volume suggests that retailers had a strong holiday season,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Retailers don’t import merchandise unless they think they can sell it.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.64 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in November, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 1.6 percent from October since most imported holiday merchandise had already arrived but up 11.2 percent from November 2015. Global Port Tracker had previously predicted a year-over-year increase of 3.6 percent. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

December was estimated at 1.54 million TEU, up 7 percent year-over-year rather than the 3.2 percent that had been expected.

Cargo volume does not correlate directly to sales because only the number of containers is counted, not the value of the cargo inside, but nonetheless provides a barometer of retailers’ expectations. NRF’s annual forecast called for $655.8 billion in 2016 holiday sales during November and December, a 3.6 percent increase over 2015. November sales were up 5 percent year-over-year, and the Commerce Department is scheduled to release December numbers on Friday.

Cargo volume for 2016 is now estimated at 18.8 million TEU, up 2.9 percent from 2015 rather than the 2 percent previously expected. Total volume for 2015 was 18.2 million TEU, up 5.4 percent from 2014.

January is forecast at 1.57 million TEU, up 5.7 percent from January 2016; February at 1.52 million TEU, down 1.5 percent from last year; March at 1.41 million TEU, up 6.5 percent from last year; April at 1.55 million TEU, up 7.3 percent, and May at 1.61 million TEU, down 0.5 percent.

“Economic data is fickle by nature – it surges and falls and often surprises us,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said, referring to sometimes-contradictory economic numbers seen over the past year. “There is both optimism and pessimism and pointers showing growth as well as decline.

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.com

Hackett Associates provides expert consulting, research and advisory services to the international maritime industry, government agencies and international institutions. www.hackettassociates.com

Contact:
J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF: September Import cargo volume should be at near-peak levels despite Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy

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

Contact:
J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF and Hackett Associates monthly Global Port Tracker report: Import cargo volume expected to rise 8% this month over the same time last year as West Coast ports recover

WASHINGTON, 2015-4-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to rise 8 percent this month over the same time last year as West Coast ports continue to recover from a backlog of cargo that built up before a tentative new labor agreement was signed, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Progress is being made but there’s still a lot of cargo waiting to be loaded onto trucks and trains and moved across the country even after it’s unloaded from the ships,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “The situation is getting better but we’re still far from normal.”

The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union tentatively agreed on a five-year contract in February. While ILWU leadership has recommended that members vote for ratification, votes won’t be counted until May 22. The lack of a contract and operational issues led to crisis-level congestion at the ports after the previous agreement expired last July, and issues were not resolved until a federal mediator and Labor Secretary Tom Perez joined the talks.

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.2 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in February, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available and historically the slowest month of the year. That was down 10.3 percent from January and down 3.6 percent from February 2014. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

March was estimated at 1.48 million TEU, up 13.5 percent from 2014. April is forecast at 1.55 million TEU, up 8 percent from last year; May at 1.57 million TEU, up 5.6 percent; June at 1.54 million TEU, up 4.3 percent; July at 1.58 million TEU, up 5.6 percent, and August at 1.61 million TEU, up 5.7 percent.

The first half of 2015 is forecast at 8.6 million TEU, an increase of 3 percent over the same period last year.

“The disruption on the West Coast appears to be over and great measures are being taken to clear the backlog of ships sitting offshore,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “Of course, all those ships being discharged are causing landside issues as workers try to get containers out of the terminal gates and onto trucks and rail.”

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

Hackett Associates provides expert consulting, research and advisory services to the international maritime industry, government agencies and international institutions. www.hackettassociates.com

J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press