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


Contracts

Austal Dives into Loss

Australia’s largest shipbuilder Austal posted a full year loss of $84.28 million because a program to build war ships for the US Navy took longer than expected.

Russian Shipbuilder Signs $1 bln Oil Rigs Contract with Iran

Russian shipbuilder Krasnye Barrikady and Iran's Tasdid Offshore Development Company (TODC)  have signed a deal worth $1 billion to build five offshore drilling

BP, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips 'Quit' Alaska LNG Project

BP, Conoco Phillips, and Exxon Mobil said that the 65-billion dollar megaproject would be too unprofitable for them to move into the next phase of development.

Ports

Five Vessels Delivered for Qatar’s New Port Project

Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar (NDSQ) has delivered five vessels as part of an 11-vessel order for New Port Project (NPP). Built entirely at the Erhama Bin Jaber

Samskip Acquires Euro Container Line AS

Samskip has completed the acquisition of Euro Container Lines AS, building on a strategy for growth in the Nordic area to make its largest ever acquisitive move in Norway.

Passenger Vessel Allides with Pier in Baltimore

Passenger vessel Spirit of Baltimore struck the pier at Henderson Wharf Marina in Baltimore, Sunday morning, causing 60 feet of damage to the pier and cosmetic damage to the vessel’s hull.

Container Ships

Half a Century at Sea

Siegfried Schmerer already dreamed of becoming a captain as a young boy. Later, as a sailor on a coaster, he suffered from seasickness. Though he thought about giving up,

Advent Hires Banks to Sell Control of Brazil Port

Buyout firm Advent International Corp has hired Morgan Stanley & Co and Grupo BTG Pactual SA to advise on the sale of a controlling stake in TCP Terminal de Contêineres de Paranaguá SA,

Samskip Acquires Euro Container Line AS

Samskip has completed the acquisition of Euro Container Lines AS, building on a strategy for growth in the Nordic area to make its largest ever acquisitive move in Norway.

News

NASSCO Christens LNG-ready Tanker Constitution

On Saturday, August 27, shipbuilders at General Dynamics NASSCO celebrated the christening and launch of the Constitution, the sixth ship in a series of eight eco-friendly

GoM Operators Evacuating Ahead of Storm

Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico are evacuating platforms and rigs in the path of Tropical Depression No. 9.   The Bureau of Safety and Environmental

White House Sees a Path to Approval of Pacific Trade Deal

The White House on Monday said it was hopeful it could win congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact before President Barack Obama leaves office,

Intermodal

Rickmers Holding, E.R. Capital Drop Merger Plan

Rickmers Holding AG and E.R. Capital Holding have jointly decided not to pursue the merger of their ship management activities.   For many years the companies

Hapag-Lloyd: UASC Merger Benefits to show in 2017

German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd expects to reap a third of targeted annual synergies of $400 million from the planned merger with Arab rival UASC already next year,

China COSCO Falls to H1 Net Loss

China COSCO Holdings Co Ltd fell to a first-half loss hurt by a persistent slump in the global container market, the world's fourth largest container shipper said on Thursday.

Logistics

Samskip Acquires Euro Container Line AS

Samskip has completed the acquisition of Euro Container Lines AS, building on a strategy for growth in the Nordic area to make its largest ever acquisitive move in Norway.

284 Ships transit Suez Canal Last Week

Suez Canal traffic data showed that 284 ships transited the canal, with a total load of 14.34m tonnes, from 19 to 24 August 2016, reports Daily News Egypt.   Compared to July 2015,

What is Happening to Suezmax Rates in 2016?

Several years ago, the main market for Suezmax tankers was the West Africa to North America trade. When this market dried up in the period from 2012 to 2014/15,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
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: 0.1158 sec (9 req/sec)