Despite developments in Washington, imports at the major US retail container ports should see double-digit year-over-year increases for the next two months as a growing economy drives the demand for affordable merchandise, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and consulting firm Hackett Associates.
“The threat of a “border adjustment” tax, withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a possible rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement might eventually dampen the trading spirit and discourage international trade,” Ben Hackett, Hackett Associates Founder, said.
“In the meantime, the opposite is happening – trade is continuing to grow despite these developments in Washington,” he added.
Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled an “unusually high” 1.67 million TEU in January, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. The large volume came as factories in Asia shipped a surge of products ahead of Lunar New Year shutdowns and was up 6.5 percent from December and 12.5 percent year-over-year, NRF said.
February was estimated at 1.61 million TEU, up 4.2 percent from last year.
March is forecast at 1.46 million TEU, up 10.6 percent from last year and April at 1.59 million TEU, up 10.1 percent, according to NRF.
In addition, May volumes are expected to stand at 1.67 million TEU, up 2.9 percent, June volumes at 1.66 million TEU, up 5.5 percent, and the ones in July at 1.71 million TEU, up 5.2 percent.
The first half of 2017 is expected to total 9.7 million TEU, up 7.4 percent from the first half of 2016.
Cargo volume for 2016 amounted to 18.8 million TEU, up 3.1 percent from 2015, which had grown 5.4 percent from 2014.
Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by Hackett Associates, covers the US ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast. Additionally, Global Port Tracker includes ports of New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.