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 and Hackett Associates report: Import cargo volume to increase this month as merchants stock up for the back-to-school season

WASHINGTON, 2016-Jul-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should see a small-but-significant increase this month as merchants stock up for the back-to-school season, then see a larger wave in late summer and fall for the holiday shopping season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Back-to-school and the holidays are the two biggest shopping seasons of the year for retailers and these numbers reflect that,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “After a year of difficult comparisons in the wake of the West Coast ports slowdown, we’re finally starting to see normal trends. Some numbers are still down from last year, but the pattern of building up toward the big seasons has returned.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.63 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 12.8 percent from April and 1.1 percent from May 2015. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

June was estimated at 1.56 million TEU, down 0.5 percent from the same month last year. July is forecast at 1.64 million TEU, up 1.4 percent from last year; August at 1.65 million TEU, down 2 percent; September at 1.58 million TEU, down 2.6 percent; October at 1.62 million TEU, up 4.4 percent, and November at 1.52 million TEU, up 2.8 percent. Even though volume will be lower than the same month last year, August is expected to be the peak shipping month of the year.

The first half of 2016 is expected to total 8.99 million TEU, up 1.5 percent from the same period in 2015. Total volume for 2015 was 18.2 million TEU, up 5.4 percent from 2014.

“Trade is holding on to a small margin of growth, but this growth comes in the face of some adverse statistics as well as positive ones,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “The good news is that retail sales have remained positive as the consumer continues to cautiously spend. The hope is that this spending will continue.”

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

Contact:

J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134

press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

Global Port Tracker report: Import cargo volume at major retail container ports expected to be unchanged from last year this month

WASHINGTON, 2015-12-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to be essentially unchanged from last year this month as stores bring in the last round of merchandise for the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“The holiday season is well under way and merchants are doing the final balancing act of matching supply to demand,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Retailers went into the season with strong inventories that ensured consumers would have a good depth and breadth of selection, and that should hold true for the remainder of the season.”

The cargo report comes as NRF is forecasting a 3.7 percent increase in holiday sales this year over 2014. Cargo volume does not directly correlate with sales figures because each container counts the same regardless of the value of its content, but nonetheless provides a barometer of retailers’ expectations.

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.56 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in October, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 4.1 percent from September and down 0.1 percent from a year ago. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

November was estimated at 1.5 million TEU, up 7.4 percent from 2014, and December is forecast at 1.44 million TEU, down 0.1 percent from last year.

Those numbers would bring 2015 to a total of 18.3 million TEU, up 5.5 percent from last year. The first half of 2015 totaled 8.9 million TEU, up 6.5 percent over the same period last year.

January 2016 is forecast at 1.46 million TEU, up 17.9 percent from weak numbers seen a year earlier just before West Coast dockworkers agreed on a new contract that ended a months-long labor dispute. February 2016 is forecast at 1.4 million TEU, up 16.9 percent, also skewed by the labor dispute. March is forecast at 1.35 million TEU, down 22.4 percent from a year ago because of large volumes seen after the contract agreement. Patterns are expected to return to normal in April, which is forecast at 1.51 million TEU, down 0.3 percent from last year.

Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said retailers are still working off excess inventory built up after the West Coast port situation and sustained by warm weather that has diminished the demand for winter clothing, but that consumers are buying.

“U.S. retail sales increased in October by the most in three months and consumer sentiment rose as well, but the inventory-to-sales ratio remained stubbornly high at levels not seen since the Great Recession in 2009,” Hackett said. “Personal savings increased, but on the flip side so did the use of credit cards.”

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

SOURCE: National Retail Federation

NRF & Hackett Associates Global Port Tracker: Import cargo volume at nation’s major retail container ports returns to normal levels

WASHINGTON, 2015-6-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports has returned to normal levels following ratification of a new West Coast labor agreement, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Despite some lingering labor issues, the volume of cargo and the rate of growth have both largely settled down,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “There are still congestion issues to be dealt with but we’re hoping to see reasonably normal back-to-school and holiday seasons this year now that the tensions of contract negotiations are behind us.”

The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union both voted in May to ratify a new five-year contract agreed to in February. The lack of a contract and operational issues led to crisis-level congestion at West Coast ports after the previous agreement expired last July.

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.52 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in April, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 12.4 percent from March, when numbers were driven up by a surge of backlogged cargo after the labor dispute ended, but up 6.1 percent from April 2014. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

May was estimated at 1.56 million TEU, up 5 percent from 2014. June is forecast at 1.52 million TEU, up 2.6 percent; July at 1.57 million TEU, up 4.9 percent; August also at 1.57 million TEU, up 3.3 percent; September at 1.6 million TEU, up 0.6 percent, and October at 1.59 million TEU, up 1.8 percent.

The first half of 2015 is forecast at 8.8 million TEU, an increase of 5.4 percent over the same period last year.

Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said a “stubbornly high” inventory-to-sales ratio after last year’s rush to bring in adequate stocks of merchandise will couple with other economic factors to affect cargo volumes through the summer.

“The West Coast recovery remains sluggish and the East Coast is not managing to hold on to the growth levels it has experienced over the past few months,” Hackett said. “June is going to be a mixed month for the West Coast with volatility between the ports, but July and August are projected to see growth across the board. On the East Coast, we are projecting growth for most ports.”

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