Imports at the nation’s top container ports will be flat this month compared to May 2011, but imports will then show steady growth into the fall, Global Port Tracker says.
The National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates publish Global Port Tracker each month.
The current issue set an optimistic tone for the coming months, based on projected retail sales. “Consumers are spending despite gas prices and other economic concerns, so retailers are stocking up to meet the demand,” said Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the NRF.
In March, the latest month for which Global Port Tracker has complete numbers, containerized imports at U.S. ports were up 14.1 percent from February and 8.5 percent year-over-year.
Global Port Tracker projects April imports to be up 2 percent from the same month last year. May’s imports will be flat, but the year-over-year imports are projected to increase 4 percent in June, 1.8 percent in July, 7.2 percent in August and 8.7 percent in September.
Those projections will bring the ports through the back-to-school shopping season, the second-busiest season for retailers, and into the all-important holiday shopping season.
Consumer goods sold by retailers are the biggest-volume cargoes in the U.S. import trades, and the projected trade growth in the coming months indicates retailers anticipate having a good year, Gold said. The NRF projects that retail sales this year will increase 3.4 percent over 2011 to $2.53 trillion.
“The economy is on the mend and all the leading economic indicators continue to point the way toward positive growth,” said Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates.