Ahead of Tariffs, Retail Sets Multiple Import Records, Says NRF
Retail has had a relatively strong year, so to speak. But that’s not the only reason that store owners are rushing to bring in additional merchandise. According to the National Retail Federation, the number of imports at the nation’s major retail container ports have set two new records this summer and are expected to set another in August—and it has everything to do with proposed tariffs on products from China.
Citing data from their monthly Global Port Tracker report, NRF found that ports covered by the report handled some 1.85 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in June, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 1.6 percent from May, and 7.8 percent year-over-year. Additionally, July is reportedly on track to hit 1.88 million TEUs, up 4.4 percent year-over-year; August is forecast at 1.91 million TEUs, up 4.4 percent. The remaining months of the year were all projected to be up at least 1.8 percent as well.
“Tariffs on most consumer products have yet to take effect but retailers appear to be getting prepared before that can happen,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement. “We’re seeing new record levels every month this summer. Much of that is to meet consumer demand as tax reform and a thriving economy drive retail sales, but part of it seems to be concern over what’s to come. The good news for consumers is that avoiding tariffs holds off price increases that will inevitably come if the reckless and misguided trade war is allowed to continue.”