Import volume at the U.S.’s major retail container ports is expected to rise 3.3 percent in May compared with the same month last year, but growth could slow to a standstill by the end of the summer, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“The weak cargo increases expected over the next few months are consistent with other signs that the economy is slowly improving but show that retailers remain cautious, especially when it comes to stocking their inventories,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy, in a written statement. “We’re looking at barely 1 percent of year-over-year growth through the early summer, and August and September are expected to be basically flat, even though they’re supposed to be two of the busiest months of the years.”
“With consumer confidence low, employment struggling to recover, and less money in shoppers’ pockets because of the payroll tax hike, we need to see action from Washington that will provide some fiscal certainty for families and businesses alike,” Gold said.
“Despite the Fed pumping liquidity into the market, consumer confidence still has not turned the corner,” added Ben Hackett, founder Hackett Associates. “We need to see the economy strengthen in the coming quarters before we can begin to see the threat of a further economic downturn dissipating.”