WASHINGTON–Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retailer container ports is expected to continue to slide as the fall leads into the holiday shopping season, according to the latest Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The U.S. ports followed in the report handled 1.33 million 20-foot equivalent units of cargo in September, the most recent month with available statistics and down 0.6 percent from September 2010. For October, the volume is expected to be off 2.3 percent from the prior year, and for this month volume is forecast to decline 1.9 percent. December is expected to bring a 3.3 percent decrease.
Going into the New Year, the slide is projected to accelerate, with an 8.7 percent decline expected for January and a 9.4 percent drop for February. March’s volume is forecast to decrease 0.6 percent.
Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said the monthly declines are a reflection of retailers “keeping their inventories extremely lean and filling their stores wall to wall with discounts and promotions. Unlike in 2008, when the financial crisis caught everyone off guard, retailers have a strong understanding of the consumer mindset this Christmas.”