WASHINGTON—A new forecast from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates has predicted that import cargo at the nation’s major retail ports will increase 16 percent this month.
In the monthly Global Port Tracker, the two organizations added that the double-digit increases in container traffic could wind down this fall, as retailers look to manage their inventories closer to the vest. Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said, “We are still seeing increases in imports partly because last year’s volumes made for easy comparisons and partly because of real improvements in the economy and consumer spending. But retailers are being cautious as they look at numbers for employment, housing and the availability of credit.”
In May, the most recent month with available data, U.S. ports handled 210 percent more cargo containers of merchandise than in May 2009. For June, the Global Port Tracker has projected a 22 percent increase over June of last year. The estimate for the first half of 2010 as a whole was a 15 percent increase in cargo containers handled.