Retail container traffic to be up 8% in January
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports in January is expected to be up 8 percent over the same month last year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released Thursday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“While the economy clearly began to recover in 2010 and drove up cargo volume as retail sales improved, maintaining that momentum in 2011 could be difficult,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy.' Consumers faced with continued high unemployment are expected to focus more on necessities than discretionary spending.'
U.S. ports handled 1.23 million TEUs in November 2010, the latest month for which actual numbers are available. That marked a decrease of 1.6 percent from October but was up 13 percent from November 2009. It was the 12th month in a row to show year-over-year improvement after December 2009 broke a 28-month streak of year-over-year declines.
Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said growth in the upper single-digit levels can be expected in 2011, particularly on the West Coast.
December was estimated at 1.16 million TEUs, a 7 percent increase over December 2009. January is forecast to stay at that level, but the figure will represent an 8 percent increase over January 2010. February is forecast at 1.14 million TEUs, up 13 percent from a year earlier; March at 1.18 million TEUs, up 9 percent; and April at 1.21 million, up 7 percent. May is forecast at 1.24 million TEUs, down 2 percent from last year.
Global Port Tracker covers containerized imports at Long Angeles-Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York-New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah on the East Coast; and the Gulf Coast port of Houston.