WASHINGTON–Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 16 percent this month, according to the latest Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The push will come from the need for stores to stock up on holiday merchandise, according to Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy. “Cargo is still coming in,” Gold said, “but the key question for sales will be what happens with employment and other factors that affect consumer confidence this fall.”
In July, the most recent month in which numbers are available, U.S. ports handled 1.38 million 20-foot equivalent units, up 5 percent from June and up 25 percent from July 2009. The report has estimated that August will bring a 17 percent increase in cargo volume over last year’s August. For October, the increase should be 9 percent, followed by a 11 percent rise in November and a 2 percent increase in December. Beginning in 2011, the current forecast calls for cargo volume to begin to decline year over year.