Port Tracker sees normal peak season for US imports, 3.2pc uptick in April

2012 04 12

CONTAINER import cargo volume at American major ports is expected to increase 3.2 per cent in April year on year with such gains continuing through summer, says the Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

"Retailers are continuing to watch rising gas prices, but job gains and other indicators show the economy is strengthening," said federation vice president Jonathan Gold. "All of this should improve consumer confidence and lead to increased spending, so retailers are building up their inventories."

American ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.04 million TEU in February, the latest month for which records are available. With February traditionally the slowest month of the year, volume was down 16 per cent from January and 5.7 per cent from February 2011.

March was estimated at 1.19 million TEU, up 9.6 per cent from a year ago, and April is forecast at 1.25 million TEU, up 3.2 per cent from last year. May is forecast at 1.29 million TEU, the same as last year; June at 1.29 million TEU, up 3.6 per cent; July at 1.35 million TEU, up 1.9 per cent, and August at 1.42 million TEU, up 7.4 per cent.

The first half of 2012 should total 7.3 million TEU, up 2.2 per cent year on year. The total for 2011 was 14.8 million TEU, up 0.4 per cent from 2010's 14.75 million TEU. The federation continues to project 2012 retail sales will grow 3.4 per cent to $2.53 trillion.

"Our forecast for the remainder of the year has brought us back to the traditional peak season patterns," Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. "Hopefully the importers and the carriers can work closely together to ensure sufficient capacity and a solid supply chain."

Global Port Tracker covers the ports of Long Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah and Houston.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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