NRF: US Container Imports to Rise despite Threat of Tariffs

Port of Los AngelesImage Courtesy: Port of Los Angeles

Imports at the major retail container ports in the US are expected to grow steadily throughout the summer despite the prospect of heavy tariffs on goods from China, the National Retail Federation said.

“With proposed tariffs yet to be officially imposed, retailers are stocking up on merchandise that could soon cost considerably more,” Jonathan Gold, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy, said.

“If tariffs do take effect, there’s no quick or easy way to switch where these products come from. American families will simply be stuck paying higher prices and hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs could be lost.”

Ports covered by NRF’s Global Port Tracker handled 1.54 million TEUs in March, down 8.6 percent from February because of Lunar New Year factory shutdowns in Asia but down only 0.7 percent year-over-year.

April was estimated at 1.73 million TEU, up 6.4 percent year-over-year. May is forecast at 1.82 million TEU, up 4.3 percent from last year; June also at 1.82 million TEU, up 6.1 percent; July at 1.9 million TEU, up 5.5 percent; August at 1.92 million TEU, up 4.6 percent, and September at 1.82 million TEU, up 2.1 percent.

The first half of 2018 is expected to total 10.4 million TEU, an increase of 5.8 percent over the first half of 2017. The total for 2017 was 20.5 million TEU, up 7.6 percent from 2016’s previous record of 19.1 million TEU.

“Despite the threats and risks to trade, we continue to see solid expansion and our models are projecting this to continue throughout the year,” Ben Hackett, Hackett Associates Founder, said.

“This is driven by a high level of confidence as the economy remains strong and unemployment is at its lowest level in nearly two decades,” Hackett concluded.

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