NRF: U.S. Imports to Set New Record as Tariffs Take Effect

PortIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

Imports at the major retail container ports in the U.S. are expected to set a new record this month driven by increasing consumer demand and rising retail sales, the National Retail Federation said.

The record numbers are expected on the back of the entry into force of the new tariffs on goods from China on July 6.

“Retailers cannot easily or quickly change their global supply chains, so imports from China and elsewhere are expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future,” Jonathan Gold, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy, said.

“As tariffs begin to hit imported consumer goods or the parts and equipment needed to produce U.S. goods, these hidden taxes will mean higher prices for Americans rather than significant changes to international trade.”

“July 6 was the beginning of the United States’ trade war,” Ben Hackett, Hackett Associates Founder, said, referring to U.S. tariffs on USD 34 billion in Chinese products that took effect on Friday.

“There will be no winners, only losers – particularly consumers – as costs increase.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.82 million TEUs in May. That was up 11.6 percent from April as the annual wave of summer merchandise began to arrive and up 4.3 percent year-over-year.

June was estimated at 1.83 million TEU, up 6.8 percent year-over-year. July is forecast at 1.87 million TEU, up 3.8 percent and August at 1.91 million TEU.

The June number tied the record of 1.83 million TEU imported during a single month set in August 2017, and the forecast for July would break that record while August should set yet another record.

The first half of 2018 is expected to total 10.3 million TEU, an increase of 4.9 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.

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