Import volume at major U.S. retail container ports is expected to rise 5.1 percent month-over-month in September, as retailers head into the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker, published by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“Retailers are making up for the slow imports seen earlier in the year,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy, in a written statement. “It’s too early to predict holiday sales, but merchants are clearly stocking up.”
Furthermore, the report predicted that import volume will reach 16.2 million TEUs by the end of 2013, up 2.5 percent from 2012’s 15.8 million TEUs.
“The U.S. economy is on the road to sustained growth,” said Ben Hackett, Hackett Associates’ founder. “Second-quarter [gross domestic product] was well above expectations and surprised most forecasters, the unemployment picture is improving and we believe consumer confidence will translate into increased sales during the fourth quarter.”
U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.43 million 20-foot-equivalent units in July, up 5.4 percent from June and 1.1 percent from July 2012, following year-over-year declines in three of the four previous months. August was estimated at 1.48 million TEUs, up 4.1 percent year-over-year, while September was forecast to be flat compared with August.