• ITVI.USA
    15,285.540
    -94.080
    -0.6%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.776
    -0.010
    -0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.450
    -0.050
    -0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,256.620
    -93.130
    -0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    -0.240
    -6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.950
    -0.020
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.440
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.310
    0.060
    1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.150
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.950
    -0.100
    -2.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    1.000
    0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,285.540
    -94.080
    -0.6%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.776
    -0.010
    -0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.450
    -0.050
    -0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,256.620
    -93.130
    -0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    -0.240
    -6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.950
    -0.020
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.440
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.310
    0.060
    1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.150
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.950
    -0.100
    -2.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    1.000
    0.8%
American ShipperWarehouse

U.S. box imports estimated to grow 3.8% in December

The NRF’s monthly monitor of container activity shows seasonal slowdown, but annual growth.

   The
number of imported containers is expected to tail off in December to
1.37 million TEUs from previous months. The projected volume growth
still represents a 3.8 percent increase on a year-over-year basis,
despite chronic congestion at some major ports that has created supply
chain bottlenecks for many companies, according to the monthly Global
Port Tracker from Hackett Associates released Friday by the National
Retail Federation.
   Retailers normally spend the previous four months building up inventories for the holiday shopping season and order less merchandise for the post-holiday period. Shipments arriving at ports in December are largely expected to reach stores in January or February, although some analysts say retailers are preparing for extended shopping demand as consumers take advantage of gift cards received during Christmas, Kwanza and Chanukah. Delays due to port gridlock also could mean some late-arriving holiday shipments are pushed into December.
   Many retailers moved up their order cycles to stockpile inventory during the summer because of concern that scheduled talks on a new labor contract between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union and marine terminal employers on the West Coast might go badly and lead to operational disruptions, resulting in an a record 1.59 million TEUs in September. The two sides have still not agreed on a new labor deal five months after the old one expired, and friction is starting to manifest itself in allegations by the Pacific Maritime Association that the ILWU is orchestrating a work slowdown at several ports.
   The NRF has been one of the leading business voices calling on the White House to pressure the parties to accept a federal mediator to resolve the contract negotiations.
   Ports monitored by the Global Port Tracker handled 1.56 million TEUs in October, the latest month where actual numbers are available. That was down 2 percent from September, but represented an 8.5-percent increase from October 2013.
   Hackett Associates previously estimated that November imports will total 1.41 million TEUs, up 4.8 percent from last year. December’s forecast is for 3.8-percent, year-over-year, growth.
   Assuming those numbers prove accurate, the total import volume for 2014 would be 17.2 million TEUs, an increase of 6.2 percent over 2013’s 16.2 million TEUs. 
   Imports totaled 15.8 million TEUs in 2012.
   Hackett Associates estimates January volume will be 1.41 million TEUs, up 2.5 percent from January 2014.
   The Port Tracker analyzes data from 12 North American ports.
   The NRF is forecasting a 4.1-percent increase in holiday sales this year. Cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales, but is a barometer of retailers’ expectations.

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