NRF/Hackett Associates report: Imports break records two months in a row as retailers brought in merchandise for the holiday season

WASHINGTON, 2017-Oct-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Imports set a second all-time monthly record high this summer as retailers brought in merchandise for the busy holiday season, and are continuing at unusually high levels this month, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“When imports break records two months in a row, it’s hard to see that as anything other than a good sign about what retailers expect in consumer demand,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Consumers are buying more, and everybody from dockworkers to truck drivers is trying to keep up. We hope this is a sign of a strong holiday season for retailers, shoppers and our nation’s economy.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.8 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in August, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. The volume was the highest recorded since NRF began tracking imports in 2000, topping the previous record of 1.78 million TEU set just one month earlier in July. The record before that had been 1.73 million TEU in March 2015. August was up 1.4 percent over July and 5.6 percent over August 2016. A TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

September was estimated at 1.65 million TEU, up 3.7 percent from last year, and October is forecast at 1.72 million TEU, up 2.8 percent. While not a record, the October number would be one of only six times in the report’s history that any month has hit 1.7 million TEU or higher. November is forecast at 1.62 million TEU, down 1.7 percent from last year, and December is forecast at 1.59 million TEU, up 1.3 percent.

Growth has slowed from the first half of the year but 2017 is expected to total 19.8 million TEU, topping last year’s previous record of 18.8 million TEU by 5.4 percent. That compares with 2016’s 3.1 percent increase over 2015. The first half of 2017 totaled 9.7 million TEU, up 7.5 percent from the same period in 2016.

January 2018 is forecast at 1.64 million TEU, down 2 percent from January 2017, and February is forecast at 1.58 million TEU, up 10 percent from the same month in 2017.

The import numbers come as NRF is forecasting that 2017 retail sales  will grow between 3.2 and 3.8 percent over 2016 and that this year’s holiday sales will grow between 3.6 and 4 percent. 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.

“The volume of containers imported through August continues to grow and we expect this to continue through October before a slack period arrives as the holiday season inventory buildup comes to an end,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “We do expect growth in imports to slacken off in the coming year, but it will still remain positive.”

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

SOURCE: NRF

MEDIA CONTACT

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

NRF/Hackett Associates Global Port Tracker report: August is expected to be the busiest month on record for imports

WASHINGTON, 2017-Aug-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Boosted by continuing sales growth, August is expected to be the busiest month on record for imports at the nation’s major retail container ports and 2017 is on track to set a new annual high, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today (August 9, 2017) by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Retailers are selling more and that means they need to import more,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “With sales showing year-over-year increases almost every month for a long time now, retail supply chains are working hard to keep up. These latest numbers are a good sign of what retailers expect in terms of consumer demand over the next few months.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.69 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in June, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 2 percent from May but up 7.5 percent from June 2016. July was estimated at 1.72 million TEU, up 5.6 percent from the same time last year. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

August is forecast at 1.75 million TEU, up 2.1 percent from last year. That would be the highest monthly volume recorded since NRF began tracking imports in 2000, topping the 1.73 million TEU seen in March 2015. The 1.7 million-plus numbers seen in May and July and now expected for August and October would represent four of the six busiest months in the report’s history.

September is forecast at 1.67 million TEU, up 4.7 percent from last year; October at 1.72 million TEU, up 3 percent; November at 1.62 million TEU, down 1.4 percent, and December at 1.59 million TEU, up 1.5 percent.

Those numbers would bring 2017 to a total of 19.7 million TEU, topping last year’s previous record of 18.8 million TEU by 4.9 percent. That compares with 2016’s 3.1 percent increase over 2015. While July numbers are not yet final, the first half of 2017 tentatively totaled 9.7 million TEU, up 7.4 percent from the same period in 2016.

The import numbers come as retail continues a long-term pattern of increased sales. Total retail sales have grown year-over-year every month since November 2009, and retail sales as calculated by NRF – excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants – have increased year-over-year in all but three months since the beginning of 2010. Retail employment, despite recent short-term fluctuations, has increased by 1.5 million jobs during the same period.

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.

Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett noted that U.S. gross domestic product grew 2.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, more than double the 1.2 percent seen in the first quarter.

“This relatively strong growth underlies the robust level of imports we have forecast and witnessed,” 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.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: imports could set new record as merchants enter back-to-school season and begin to stock up for the holiday season

WASHINGTON, 2017-Jul-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — July and August should be two of the busiest months ever seen for imports at the nation’s major retail container ports, possibly setting a new record as merchants enter the back-to-school season and begin to stock up for the holiday season that will follow, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today (July 10, 2017) by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“We’re expecting retailers to import some of the largest volumes of merchandise ever,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “That’s a good indicator of what could be ahead for consumer demand and retail sales, and it’s a sign that retail is going strong despite what you might read in the headlines.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.72 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 7.3 percent from April and up 6.2 percent from May 2016. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

June was estimated at 1.66 million TEU, up 5.3 percent from the same time last year. July is forecast at 1.71 million TEU, up 5.1 percent from last year; August at 1.75 million TEU, up 2.2 percent; September at 1.66 million TEU, up 4.3 percent; October at 1.71 million TEU, up 2.2 percent, and November at 1.6 million TEU, down 2.7 percent from last year.

The August figure would be the highest monthly volume recorded since NRF began tracking imports in 2000, topping the 1.73 million TEU seen in March 2015. The 1.7 million-plus numbers seen in May, July, August and October represent four of the six busiest months in the report’s history.

The first half of 2017 is expected to total 9.63 million TEU, up 7.1 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.

Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, an internationally known economist who prepares Global Port Tracker for NRF, said the increases in imports have come despite threats by the Trump administration to impose new limits on international trade.

“Some actions to date appear to have alienated traditional allies and are causing them to work more closely together, leaving the United States on the sidelines,” Hackett wrote in his monthly editorial comment in the report. “ ‘America First’ may well result in protectionist actions that will cut the United States off from the benefits of the global value chain and economic growth for U.S. importers and exporters.”

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 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 Global Port Tracker report: Imports expected to increase 4.6 percent during the first half of 2017

WASHINGTON, 2017-Feb-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports are expected to increase 4.6 percent during the first half of 2017 over the same period last year as the nation’s economy improves and retail sales continue to grow, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today (February 9, 2017) by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“This is very much in line with what we are forecasting for retail sales and consumer spending this year,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Retailers try to balance inventories very carefully with demand. So, when retailers import more merchandise, that’s a pretty good indicator of what they are expecting to happen with sales.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.58 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in December, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 3.8 percent from November as the holiday season came to an end but up 10.2 percent from December 2015. That brought 2016 cargo volume to a total of 18.8 million TEU, up 3.2 percent from 2015, which had grown 5.4 percent from 2014. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

January was estimated at 1.59 million TEU, up 6.6 percent from January 2016. February is forecast at 1.53 million TEU, down 0.6 percent from last year; March at 1.43 million TEU, up 7.8 percent from last year; April at 1.56 million TEU, up 8.2 percent; May at 1.66 million TEU, up 2.3 percent, and June at 1.65 million TEU, up 4.3 percent.

Those numbers would bring the first half of 2017 to 9.4 million TEU, up 4.6 percent from the first half of 2016. That would be almost three times the 1.6 percent growth seen in the first half of 2016 over the same period in 2015.

The cargo numbers come a day after NRF forecast that 2017 retail sales – excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – will increase between 3.7 and 4.2 percent over 2016, citing job and income growth and low debt that show “the fundamentals are in place.”

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.

“The United States is well placed in 2017 and is likely to outperform most of the rest of the developed economies,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “If the infrastructure investments promised by the new administration come about, we can expect stronger growth than in 2016, but that assumes good relationships with U.S. trading partners and no recourse to trade barriers that would result in a tit-for-tat response.”

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: 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/Hackett Associates Global Port Tracker Report: Retail imports expected to be up 3.2% this month over the same time last year

WASHINGTON, 2016-Dec-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports are expected to be up 3.2 percent this month over the same time last year as stores bring in the last of the merchandise for the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today (December 9, 2016) by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“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.

Cargo volume for 2016 is expected to total 18.6 million TEU, up 2 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.

January 2017 is forecast at 1.54 million TEU, up 3.2 percent from January 2016; February at 1.49 million TEU, down 3.5 percent from last year; March at 1.38 million TEU, up 4.4 percent from last year, and April at 1.54 million TEU, up 6.4 percent.

With cargo growth at covered U.S. ports for the year coming in at only 2 percent, Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said a trend of imports exceeding growth of gross domestic product appears to have ended.

“This is a new phenomenon,” Hackett said. “It was not long ago when industry leaders were doing their forecasts based on trade growth outpacing GDP by a ratio of more than 2-to-1. Those days are gone.”

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 issues statement in response to bankruptcy filing by Hanjin Shipping

WASHINGTON, 2016-Sep-05 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today (September 1, 2016) issued the following statement from Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in response to this week’s bankruptcy filing by Hanjin Shipping:

“Retailers’ main concern is that there is millions of dollars worth of merchandise that needs to be on store shelves that could be impacted by this. Some of it is sitting in Asia waiting to be loaded on ships, some is already aboard ships out on the ocean and some is sitting on U.S. docks waiting to be picked up. It is understandable that port terminal operators, railroads, trucking companies and others don’t want to do work for Hanjin if they are concerned they won’t get paid. However, we need all parties to work together to find solutions to move this cargo so it does not have a broader impact on the economy.”

“There are more questions than answers at this point, but retailers are working to get all issues addressed. Retailers are working with all of their service providers to find ways to get their cargo moving to ensure that there is no or limited interruption in the supply of merchandise.”

The Hanjin bankruptcy comes as the Global Port Tracker report published by NRF and Hackett Associates forecasts that major U.S. retail container ports will handle 1.61 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units this month, down 0.6 percent from the same month last year.

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:
Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

NRF VP for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold appointed to Department of Commerce’s Advisory Committee

WASHINGTON, DC, 2016-Apr-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — National Retail Federation Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold has been appointed to the Department of Commerce’s Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness, NRF said today. Established in 2011, the committee consists of 45 senior-level private sector supply chain experts and industry representatives who advise Commerce, the Transportation Department and other government agencies on supply chain issues that affect the international competitiveness of U.S. businesses.

“I’m honored by this appointment,” Gold said. “The global supply chain is critical to the success of any retailer, as well as the overall economy. This committee plays an important role in not only identifying ongoing challenges, but also developing solutions to ensure the competitiveness of American companies. As the nation’s largest private-sector employer, it is critical that the retail industry’s supply chain works as efficiently as possible in order to provide consumers with a wide range of product choices on a daily basis.”

At NRF, Gold is responsible for representing the retail industry before Congress and the administration on supply chain, international trade, and customs-related issues impacting the retail industry. In this role he led NRF’s efforts in support of passage of the Trade Promotion Authority and approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, traveled to Bangladesh to assess improvements in worker safety, helped convince the White House to intervene in last year’s West Coast ports slowdown, and has been a leading advocate of the value of trade and imports to the U.S. economy.

Prior to joining NRF in 2007, Gold served as a policy analyst in the Office of Policy and Planning for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He joined CBP in May 2006 and was responsible for providing policy guidance on issues surrounding maritime cargo security and trade-related matters. Gold also worked on implementation issues surrounding the SAFE Port Act and other issues within the agency including CBP intelligence reform, pandemic flu and trade facilitation.

Gold has served in several leadership positions influencing supply chain and customs policy over the past 15 years. He was appointed to the Departmental Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of Customs and Border Protection and Related Homeland Security Functions in January 2005. He also served on the International Trade Advisory Committee on Distribution Services, which is responsible for advising the federal government on trade negotiations. Gold currently serves on the board of directors of the Waterfront Coalition.

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

Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

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

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 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 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

NRF’s Jonathan Gold: The National Retail Federation welcomes the news that the ILWU and PMA have agreed to federal mediation

NRF Key Votes Bipartisan Bill that Restores the Traditional 40-Hour Workweek

WASHINGTON, 2015-1-7 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today expressed its strong support for H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act, a bill that would restore the traditional 40-hour workweek standard for health benefits under the Affordable Care Act. NRF sent a letter to each and every House office stating that all votes related to the bill would be considered “key votes” and factored into its annual legislative scorecard.

“Restoring the traditional 40-hour workweek would benefit employers and employees,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “It would return power to employers to establish and maintain health care benefit eligibility standards, protect full-time employees and benefit hourly employees with more hours, more income and greater opportunity to advance to full-time employment.”

The bipartisan bill was introduced earlier this week by Reps. Todd Young, R-In. and Dan Lipinski, D-Ill. along with their colleagues, Reps. Pete Olson, R-Texas., Mike Kelly, R-Pa. and Tim Walberg, R-Minn. The bill, which would repeal the ACA’s definition of a 30-hour workweek, is expected to come to the House floor for a vote during the inaugural week of the 114th Congress.

“The Save American Workers Act is a commonsense piece of legislation that will restore an established workforce precedent and protect business owners and their employees,” French said. “The Affordable Care Act is in serious need of revision and reform, and we urge Congress to further that process by approving this bipartisan piece of legislation to restore the traditional definition of a 40-hour workweek.”

A corresponding Senate bill, authored by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine. and Joe Donnelly, D-In., will likely will be introduced this week.

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. www.nrf.com

Stephen E. Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

###

The National Retail Federation comments on the news that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association agreed to federal mediation

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to Supervise ILWU-PMA Talks; Federal Mediation Long-Sought by NRF

WASHINGTON,  2015-1-7 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation issued the following statement from Vice President of Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold on the news that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association have agreed to federal mediation under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliations Service:

“The National Retail Federation welcomes the news that the ILWU and PMA have agreed to federal mediation to help settle their ongoing contract dispute.

“After months of heated rhetoric and increasing cargo congestion, this is the first positive news from the West Coast ports in some time.

“On behalf of the supply chain community, we sincerely hope the FMCS-supervised negotiations will progress quickly and that final agreement on a new labor contract will be reached relatively soon.

“While there are a number of outstanding and unresolved issues before the parties, we all share a commitment to the long-term viability and competitiveness of the West Coast ports.”

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. www.nrf.com

###

Stephen E. Schatz
202-626-8119
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press