US Imports Surge as Ports Contract Remains in Limbo

Posted by Eric Haun
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Photo courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles

With West Coast longshoremen still negotiating a new contract, retailers are bringing holiday merchandise into the United States at record levels to protect against potential supply chain disruptions, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

Import volume at major U.S. container ports is expected to total 1.5 million containers this month. That’s the highest monthly volume in at least five years and follows a trend of unusually high import levels that began this spring as retailers worked to import merchandise ahead of any potential problems.

“We’re still hoping to get through this without any significant disruptions but retailers aren’t taking any chances,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Retailers have been bringing merchandise in early for months now and will do what it takes to make sure shelves are stocked for their customers regardless of what happens during the negotiations.”

The contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired on July 1. Dockworkers remain on the job as both sides continue to negotiate a new agreement, and NRF has urged both labor and management to avoid any disruptions that could affect the flow of back-to-school or holiday merchandise.

Retailers have a number of contingency plans in place, and Global Port Tracker numbers show that some importers have begun shifting cargo to East Coast ports: West Coast ports handled 59 percent of U.S. retail container cargo in May, down from 62 percent in January.

U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.48 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 3.7 percent from April and 6.6 percent from May 2013. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.

June was estimated at 1.46 million TEU, up 7.6 percent from the same month last year, and July is forecast at 1.5 million TEU, up 4.3 percent from last year. August is forecast at 1.51 million TEU, up 1.6 percent from last year; September at 1.45 million TEU, up 1 percent; October at 1.49 million TEU, up 3.8 percent; and November at 1.39 million TEU, up 3.6 percent.

The first half of the year is expected to total 8.3 million TEU, up 6.7 percent over last year. The total for 2013 was 16.2 million TEU, up 2.3 percent from 2012’s 15.8 million TEU.

The import numbers come as NRF is forecasting 4.1 percent sales growth in 2014. Cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales but is a barometer of retailers’ expectations.

While the West Coast contract situation is driving the surge in early imports, Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said the increases in volume also reflect an improving economy.

“The economy is on the upswing,” Hackett said. “There’s been a sharp drop in unemployment, consumer spending has seen solid growth over the last three months, and there’s a strong level of consumer confidence.”

nrf.com

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter January 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Contracts

Sea IT, Veritas Tankers Ink Long-term Software Deal

Sea IT has entered a long term ICT agreement with Veritas Tankers. The agreement comprises installation of BlueCORE Generation 4, an ICT platform specifically developed for the marine industry,

Interior Facelift for Queen Mary 2

Cunard’s luxurious flagship, the iconic 2,620 passenger ocean liner Queen Mary 2, will undergo an interior refit at the hands of McCue Marine during a 25-day multimillion-pound

Chemical Shipping Freight Rates to Remain Under Pressure

On the back of low bunker prices and more new buildings to be delivered in 2016, chemical shipping freight rates for both contracts of affreightment and spot cargoes

Ports

First ‘Reachstacker’ Starts Duty in the Port of Ravenna

Liebherr Maritime Cranes delivered a LRS 545, the first model out of the new reachstacker series, to the Italian Port of Ravenna.   The Port of Ravenna is one

Innovative Equipment Will Help Unload Listing Ship

Following Smit Salvage’s salvage of the stricken ship Modern Express in the Gulf of Biscay, another Rotterdam company has now become involved in the rescue operations.

Greeks at Frontline of Migrant Crisis Angry at EU Critics

ABOARD THE AGIOS EFSTRATIOS, Aegean Sea, Feb 11: Greek Captain Argyris Frangoulis lifts his binoculars and with eyes fixed on the Aegean Sea horizon, steers his

Container Ships

First ‘Reachstacker’ Starts Duty in the Port of Ravenna

Liebherr Maritime Cranes delivered a LRS 545, the first model out of the new reachstacker series, to the Italian Port of Ravenna.   The Port of Ravenna is one

Long Beach Sees Robust Container Growth

The Port of Long Beach kicked off 2016 by logging its seventh straight month of cargo increases, showing a 24.8 percent jump in container shipments over the same month last year.

APM Terminals Broaden Portfolio, Business Model

APM Terminals’ increased invested capital to USD $6.2 billion in 2015 as ongoing strategic plans to drive portfolio growth, improve productivity and safety performance, generated USD $4.

News

First ‘Reachstacker’ Starts Duty in the Port of Ravenna

Liebherr Maritime Cranes delivered a LRS 545, the first model out of the new reachstacker series, to the Italian Port of Ravenna.   The Port of Ravenna is one

Vessel Discharge Amendment Push Continues

AWO voices strong opposition to McCain anti-Jones Act amendment   The American Waterways Operators (AWO) is continuing an intensive lobbying campaign to bring

Innovative Equipment Will Help Unload Listing Ship

Following Smit Salvage’s salvage of the stricken ship Modern Express in the Gulf of Biscay, another Rotterdam company has now become involved in the rescue operations.

Intermodal

Port of Hamburg Reports Bulk Cargo Jump in 2015

The Port of Hamburg reports higher bulk cargo throughput and strong growth in rail and inland waterway seaport-hinterland traffic in 2015 – downturn in container handling.

Maersk CEO Looks to Increase Market Share

A.P. Moller-Maersk's chief executive said its container shipping arm Maersk Line probably gained market share in the second half of 2015 after losing some in the first half of the year.

Maersk Writes Down Oil Assets

Writedown pushes company into red in fourth quarter; 2016 profit to fall short of previous year. Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk tumbled to a loss of $2.5 billion

Logistics

First ‘Reachstacker’ Starts Duty in the Port of Ravenna

Liebherr Maritime Cranes delivered a LRS 545, the first model out of the new reachstacker series, to the Italian Port of Ravenna.   The Port of Ravenna is one

Chemical Shipping Freight Rates to Remain Under Pressure

On the back of low bunker prices and more new buildings to be delivered in 2016, chemical shipping freight rates for both contracts of affreightment and spot cargoes

Baltic Index Pauses at Record Low

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, ended flat on Thursday after declining for 12 straight sessions

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1228 sec (8 req/sec)