American Shipper

NRF and Global Insight: Ports operating smoothly

NRF and Global Insight: Ports operating smoothly

   The nation's major retail container ports are operating smoothly this month as volume levels build back up after the winter slow season, the National Retail Federation and consulting firm Global Insight said Monday in their April Port Tracker newsletter.

   'Heading into the buildup toward the peak season, all ports are operating without congestion,' Global Insight economist Paul Bingham said. 'The outlook is for continued good performance despite challenges from continued growth in trade. We still have concerns with the condition of the rail system and challenges for the trucking industry later this year, but we expect the industry should do even better than last year, with little terminal or network congestion.'

   All ports covered by Port Tracker — Los Angeles-Long Beach, Oakland, Tacoma and Seattle on the West Coast, and New York-New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah on the East Coast — are rated 'low' for congestion, the same as March.

   'We were concerned last month that the Dubai Ports World issue might lead Congress to pass legislation that would impact terminal operations, but the issue appears to have been resolved and is not expected to affect port congestion at this point,' said NRF Vice President and International Trade Counsel Erik Autor.

   Nationwide, ports surveyed handled 1.09 million TEUs of container traffic during February, the most recent month for which numbers are available. The figure — the lowest volume of the slow, post-holiday winter season — was down 11.7 percent from January and 1.6 percent from February 2005. Volume is beginning to climb again and should hit 1.45 million TEU in August, up 9.5 percent from August 2005.