Import volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is predicted to rise 2.7 percent in April compared with the same month last year, despite federal spending cuts that took effect in March, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker study released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“The impact of sequestration isn’t yet fully known, but Customs officials are working hard to manage their resources and keep cargo moving,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy, in a written statement. “Between their efforts to avoid delays and retailers’ adjustments to compensate, we’re not expecting consumers to see any difference on store shelves at this point.”
CBP warned businesses that the cuts could increase wait times for customs inspections at ports, but officials said the recent passage of the fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill by Congress allows the agency to alleviate some of the impacts.
“Economic indicators continue to present a mixed picture of the prospects for the remainder of the year,” said Ben Hackett, Hackett Associates’ founder. “Sequestration does not help, but on the other hand, is not yet a major factor to take into account.”