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: Import cargo volume should see its traditional buildup toward the summer

WASHINGTON, 2016-Mar-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should see its traditional buildup toward the summer despite difficult comparisons with last year’s unusual patterns, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Comparisons are still complicated because of last year’s situation at the West Coast ports but should clear up in the second half of the year,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Year-over-year numbers are skewed but on a monthly basis imports are building normally as the back-to-school season approaches.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.5 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in January, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 4.4 percent from December and 21.4 percent from unusually low figures in January 2015, the month before a new contract with dockworkers was signed to end a near-shutdown at West Coast ports. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

February was estimated at 1.4 million TEU, up 17.1 percent from the same month in 2015 and also skewed by last year’s congestion. March is forecast at 1.35 million TEU, down 22.2 percent from the flood of traffic seen as the backlog of cargo began to move through ports at this time last year. April is forecast at 1.49 million TEU, down 1.8 percent from last year; May at 1.56 million TEU, down 3.4 percent; June at 1.54 million TEU, down 1.6 percent; and July at 1.61 million TEU, down 0.4 percent.

The first half of 2016 is expected to total 8.8 million TEU, down 0.2 percent from the same period in 2015. Total volume for 2015 was 18.2 million TEU, up 5.4 percent from 2014.

With cargo volume down so far this year, Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said recent decisions by major shipping lines to add new super-large capacity vessels to routes between Asia and the U.S. West Coast are likely to bring lower shipping rates at the risk of “chaos” in the balance between supply and demand.

“Does this make sense? Absolutely not,” Hackett said. “It flies in the face of financial and economic wisdom and totally ignores the state of the freight market.”

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

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 and Hackett Associates: Import cargo volume expected to increase 3.3 % this month as retailers make final preparations for the holiday season

WASHINGTON, 2015-10-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 3.3 percent this month over the same time last year as retailers make final preparations for the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“The holidays are almost here, and retailers are ready,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Merchants have been stocking up since summer, and there should be plenty on the shelves as consumers begin their holiday shopping.”

The cargo report comes a day after NRF forecast 3.7 percent growth in holiday sales this year over 2014. While imports provide a barometer of retailers’ expectations, cargo volume does not directly correlate with sales figures because each container counts the same regardless of the value of its content.

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.68 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in August, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 3.9 percent from July and 10.4 percent from a year ago. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

September was estimated at 1.62 million TEU, up 2.1 percent from 2014. October is forecast at 1.61 million TEU, up 3.3 percent from last year; November at 1.49 million TEU, up 7.2 percent, and December at 1.42 million TEU, down 0.9 percent.

Those numbers would bring 2015 to a total of 18.3 million TEU, up 5.7 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 1.44 million TEU, up 16.5 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 is forecast at 1.35 million TEU, up 12.9 percent, also skewed by the labor dispute.

Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said West Coast ports have largely recovered their share of cargo following the labor dispute, with the West Coast accounting for 59 percent, the East Coast 37 percent and the Gulf Coast 4 percent. But the inventory-to-sales ratio remains “stubbornly high” because of the influx of cargo that came through after the dispute ended.

“We would have thought that by now the aftermath of the disruption at the West Coast ports had worked its way through, which would help to reduce inventory,” he said. “This is not the case.”

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

NRF: Import cargo volume expected to increase 1.2 percent this month as retailers head toward the holiday season

WASHINGTON, 2015-9-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 1.2 percent this month over the same time last year as retailers head toward the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“After supply chain worries earlier this year, inventories are plentiful this fall,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Shoppers should have no worries about finding what they’re looking for as they begin their holiday shopping.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.62 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in July, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 2.9 percent from June and 8.1 percent from July 2014. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

August was estimated at 1.6 million TEU, up 5.5 percent from 2014. September is forecast at 1.61 million TEU, up 1.2 percent from last year; October at 1.62 million TEU, up 3.8 percent; November at 1.5 million TEU, up 7.9 percent, and December at 1.44 million TEU, down 0.2 percent.

Those numbers would bring 2015 to a total of 18.2 million TEU, up 5.4 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 1.44 million TEU, up 16.9 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.

Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said economists have been watching a “stubbornly high” inventory-to-sales ratio this summer. But he said the cause appears to be the flood of cargo that came after the new West Coast dockworkers’ contract was signed rather than weakness in demand.

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

NRF Global Port Tracker: Import cargo volume expected to increase 3.6% this month over the same time last year as retailers look toward holiday season

WASHINGTON, 2015-8-10— /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 3.6 percent this month over the same time last year as retailers begin to bring in merchandise for the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. Imports for the year are expected to be up 4.2 percent over 2014.

“Consumers might be out buying back-to-school supplies but toys and sweaters are starting to show up on the docks,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “There are still some lingering congestion issues but retailers are working with their supply chain partners to make sure all of that merchandise flows smoothly to store shelves.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.57 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in June, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 2.5 percent from an unusually busy May but up 6.2 percent from June 2014. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

July was estimated at 1.59 million TEU, up 6 percent from 2014. August is forecast at 1.57 million TEU, up 3.6 percent; September at 1.59 million TEU, down 0.1 percent; October at 1.58 million TEU, up 1.2 percent; November at 1.45 million TEU, up 4.5 percent, and December at 1.4 million TEU, down 2.8 percent.

Those numbers would bring 2015 to a total of 18 million TEU, up 4.2 percent from last year. The first half of 2015 totaled 8.9 million TEU, up 6.5 percent over the same period last year.

Some retailers are paying less to transport their merchandise this year, thanks to the use of more large-capacity ships by ocean carriers. Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said the increased capacity has driven down rates, but the relief could be short-lived because some lines have already canceled voyages to counteract the trend.

“We are seeing complete chaos on the high seas in terms of the amount of capacity available and the level of spot freight rates,” Hackett said. “One has to wonder why carriers cannot match supply to demand. The end result will likely be a highly volatile situation of freight rates moving up and down.”

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

###

National Retail Federation Vice President Jonathan Gold appeared on CNBC to discuss the progress the ports have seen since the West Coast labor disputes have been reconciled. Watch the full interview.

National Retail Federation Vice President Jonathan Gold appeared on CNBC to discuss the progress the ports have seen since the West Coast labor disputes have been reconciled. Watch the full interview.

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

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

National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates Global Port Tracker report: Import cargo volume expected to rise as West Coast ports begin to dig out from backlog

WASHINGTON, 2015-3-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to rise an unusually high 16.9 percent this month over the same time last year as West Coast ports begin to dig out from a backlog of cargo that built up during just-concluded contract negotiations with dockworkers, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“The contract talks are over, but the tentative agreement still has to be ratified and it’s going to take months to get back to normal on the West Coast,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Retailers’ immediate priority is to make sure spring merchandise reaches store shelves in time. Going forward, we want labor, management and Washington to work together to see that we never again have a situation like what we went through these past several months.”

Following negotiations that began last spring, the contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired on July 1. Despite ongoing talks, the lack of a contract and other operational issues led to crisis-level congestion at the ports, and retailers and other businesses asked President Obama in December to encourage the use of a federal mediator. A mediator joined the talks in January but a tentative agreement was not reached until February 20, after Labor Secretary Tom Perez sat down to personally broker a deal.

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.24 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in January, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 13.4 percent from December following the end of the holiday season and down 9.5 percent from January 2014. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

February was estimated at 1.27 million TEU, up 2.3 percent from 2014. March is forecast at 1.52 million TEU as spring merchandise arrives, up 16.9 percent from last year. The March number is high both because of the backlog of ships at anchor waiting to be unloaded and because the annual Lunar New Year shutdown of Chinese factories was later this year, delaying some February cargo into March. April is forecast at 1.51 million TEU, up 5.2 percent; May at 1.57 million TEU, up 6.1 percent; June also at 1.57 million TEU, up 6 percent, and July at 1.6 million TEU, up 6.7 percent.

The first half of 2015 is forecast at 8.7 million TEU, an increase of 4.5 percent over the same period last year.

Congestion at West Coast ports has prompted many importers to shift their cargo elsewhere, prompting speculation on how long the shift might last. West Coast ports handled 55 percent of cargo this January, down from 64 percent during the same month in 2014, while East Coast ports handled 45 percent, up from 36 percent.

“Importers and exporters are reviewing their supply chain plans for the future, and not necessarily in favor of the West Coast,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “Looking on the practical side, a number of factors favor a return to the West Coast.”

Hackett said sending ships from Asia to the East Coast is more expensive than the West Coast, takes longer, and results in higher expenses to move the cargo to Midwest distribution centers by rail. In addition, importers have significant investments in West Coast distribution centers that would not easily be abandoned.

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