US Retail Imports on the Rise

By Eric Haun
Friday, June 06, 2014
Photo: The Port of Los Angeles

Import volume at major U.S. container ports is expected to increase 7.5 percent in June as retailers bring unusually high quantities of merchandise into the country early to avoid any potential disruptions after the labor contract with West Coast dockworkers expires, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“We don’t want to see disruptions at the ports but retailers are making sure they are prepared in case that happens,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Whether it’s bringing cargo in early or other contingency plans, retailers will keep the shelves stocked for the back-to-school and holiday seasons.”

The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union began negotiations last month on a new contract to replace the agreement that expires June 30. NRF has urged both sides to avoid any disruptions that could affect the flow of back-to-school or holiday merchandise.

West Coast ports handle more than two-thirds of U.S. retail container cargo, including the bulk of cargo from Asia. The last major coast-wide shutdown there occurred in the fall of 2002, closing ports for 10 days and creating a months-long backlog to be cleared.

U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.43 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in April, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. The number was up 9.9 percent from March and 10.3 percent from April 2013. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.

May was estimated at 1.47 million TEU, up 5.8 percent from the same month last year, and June is forecast at 1.46 million TEU, up 7.5 percent from last year. Both are unusually high numbers not normally seen until later in the summer or fall, a sign that retailers have begun bringing imported merchandise into the country early because of the uncertainty of what could happen when the labor contract expires.

July is forecast at an even-higher 1.51 million TEU, up 4.4 percent from last year; August at 1.52 million TEU, up 1.9 percent; September at 1.45 million TEU, up 0.8 percent; and October at 1.48 million TEU, up 3.4 percent.

The first half of the year is expected to total 8.3 million TEU, up 6.5 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.

Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said inventory levels were up earlier in the year as a severe winter kept shoppers at home and retailers began stocking up in advance of the port negotiations.

“The weather is behind us and inventories are coming down as the consumer ventures out and West Coast dockworkers and management remain at the bargaining table,” Hackett said. “The real question is how long can the economic expansion continue?”

nrf.com

globalporttracker.com
 

Maritime Reporter October 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Ports

Vacant Pier to Help Ease Long Beach Congestion

Pier S temporary depot to relocate empty containers for next five months    The Port of Long Beach expects a “Temporary Empty Container Depot” planned for a vacant

Vietnam Warship Visits Underscore Regional Tension

Vietnam on Tuesday showed off its two most powerful warships in the first-ever port call to the Philippines but an official said it was not trying to challenge

Vacant Pier at Long Beach Port to Ease Congestion

The Port of Long Beach expects a “Temporary Empty Container Depot” planned for a vacant pier on Terminal Island to be open and operating in December, which will

News

US House to Hold Hearing on Oil Export Ban

A House of Representatives panel will hold a hearing on Dec. 11 to explore whether a decades-old law that prohibits the export of crude oil makes sense in an era of domestic energy abundance.

Bollinger Delivers 11th FRC to the US Coast Guard

Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. has delivered the William Trump, the 11th Fast Response Cutter (FRC) to the United States Coast Guard.   The announcement was made by Bollinger Chief Operating Officer,

Australian Defence Minister Says Would Not Trust Submarine Firm to Build Canoe

Australia's defence minister has said he would not trust state-owned Australian Submarine Corp (ASC) "to build a canoe", fuelling expectations that most work in

Logistics

Matson Raises Guam, Micronesia Rates

Matson, Inc., a U.S. carrier in the Pacific, announced today that Matson Navigation Company, Inc. will raise its rates for the company's Guam/Commonwealth of the

Vacant Pier to Help Ease Long Beach Congestion

Pier S temporary depot to relocate empty containers for next five months    The Port of Long Beach expects a “Temporary Empty Container Depot” planned for a vacant

Russian Liftings for Western Options at 12-Year Low

By Gleb Gorodyankin MOSCOW, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Exports of Russian crude oil to Western markets are set to fall by almost a third in December and reach a 12-year

 
 
Maritime Security Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.1944 sec (5 req/sec)