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 Reporter August 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Contracts

TEN Charters Tanker at 20% Premium

Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited announces two-year charter renewal at a 20 percent premium to prior contract reflecting strong tanker market fundamental, oil price

Japanese Sub Pitch puts off Australian Firms

Japan had been seen as frontrunner for Australian submarine deal, but Australian defence firms unhappy after talks with Japan. A Japanese consortium eyeing a A$50 billion ($35.

Traders Scramble for Caribbean Crude Storage

Demand for crude storage in the Caribbean, one of the world's most important oil hubs, is rising as producers and traders try to ride out the worst price crash

Ports

Runaway Crane Barge Sinks on the Mississippi

The U.S. Coast Guard is working with a team of responders to recover a runaway crane barge that sunk near Convent on the Mississippi River.   The crane barge

Nigeria Ramps up Push to Eradicate Oil Theft

Nigerian authorities hope to put an end to rampant oil theft in eight months by increasing drone and naval monitoring of territorial waters and working with local communities,

MN: Foss Maritime Company

The Company: Foss Maritime Company is wholly owned by Saltchuk Resources, a privately owned family investment company formed in 1982 and based in the Pacific Northwest.

Container Ships

LNG-fueled Box Ship a 'Momentous Step Forward'

On Saturday, August 29, 2015, the world’s first series of energy efficient containerships welcomed its second LNG-powered vessel in San Diego, fueling the U.S.

ZIM Transitions Fleet to StowMan(s) Software

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd, Israel  has decided to enhance its stowage planning for its containership fleet (currently 93 ships) in the future by using

TOTE’s 2nd LNG Containership Launched

Shipping company TOTE and shipbuilder NASSCO on Saturday launched Perla del Caribe, the second of two Marlin Class ships – the first containerships in the world to be powered by natural gas.

News

Latest ShipConstructor Update Targets Offshore

With the release of ShipConstructor 2016 R1.1, SSI said it provides additional enhancement for the offshore rig construction market, particularly with regards to weld management.

Runaway Crane Barge Sinks on the Mississippi

The U.S. Coast Guard is working with a team of responders to recover a runaway crane barge that sunk near Convent on the Mississippi River.   The crane barge

Joe Pyne Joins DHT Holdings’ Board of Directors

Crude oil shipper DHT Holdings, Inc. announced today that it has appointed Joseph H. Pyne to its board of directors, expanding the board from three to four independent directors.

Intermodal

MN: Foss Maritime Company

The Company: Foss Maritime Company is wholly owned by Saltchuk Resources, a privately owned family investment company formed in 1982 and based in the Pacific Northwest.

Asia-N.Europe Box Rates Jump 26 pct

Shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe jumped by 26 percent to $591 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday,

CMA CGM-led Consortium Win Box Terminal Bid

The consortium formed by CMA CGM, Bolloré and CHEC won the bid process initiated by the Cameroonian government Following the bidding procedure initiated by the Cameroonian government,

Logistics

MN: Foss Maritime Company

The Company: Foss Maritime Company is wholly owned by Saltchuk Resources, a privately owned family investment company formed in 1982 and based in the Pacific Northwest.

LNG-fueled Box Ship a 'Momentous Step Forward'

On Saturday, August 29, 2015, the world’s first series of energy efficient containerships welcomed its second LNG-powered vessel in San Diego, fueling the U.S.

Fleet Growth Weighs on Product Tanker Earnings

Healthy returns enjoyed by the product tanker market in recent years are under threat as impending fleet growth is expected to reduce the sector’s earnings over the medium term,

 
 
Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar 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: 0.2687 sec (4 req/sec)