NRF/Global Insight: Ports still smooth as peak season approaches
The nation’s major retail container ports are operating smoothly, and little of the congestion that has been problematic in past years is expected this summer or fall, according to the June Port Tracker report released Monday by the National Retail Federation and consultant Global Insight.
“The ramp-up into peak season is now under way, with monthly container volume building through October,” Global Insight Economist Paul Bingham said. “There is no congestion at the ports now, and the truck and rail systems are operating fluidly. A number of challenges with continued growth in volume remain, and there are concerns with port trucking for later this year, but the backlog of ships without reservations at the Panama Canal has been reduced compared with last month. The bottom line is that we expect the industry to get through the 2006 peak season without serious port 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 May.
Nationwide, ports surveyed handled 1.32 million TEUs of container traffic in April, the most recent month for which numbers are available. The figure was up 6.2 percent from March and 10 percent from April 2005. Over the six-month forecast period of the report, volume is expected to climb to a peak of 1.49 million TEUs in October, up 8.7 percent from October 2005.