WASHINGTON-After experiencing a flat May, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should begin a period of solid year-over-year increases that will carry through summer and the back-to-school season, according to the most recent Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
In March, the most recent month with available numbers, the volume handled at U.S. ports grew 8.5 percent over March 2011. The volume in April was estimated to have risen 2 percent from last year, while May’s volume is expected to be the same as in May of last year.
The report called for a 4 percent year-over-year rise in June’s import volume, to be followed by a 1.8 percent pickup in July and a 7.2 percent gain in August. September should finish with an increase of 8.7 percent.
“Consumers are spending despite gas prices and other economic concerns, so retailers are stocking up to meet the demand,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president of supply chain and customs policy. Gold added that the momentum in import volume through the back-to-school period should also stretch into the beginning of the holiday season. “That’s a sign that retailers are expecting a good year,” he said.