Volume Climbing at Retail Container Ports
The nation’s continuing economic slowdown will keep cargo traffic at major retail container ports below last year’s levels through this summer and early fall, but month-to-month numbers are climbing and ports should see a return to year-over-year growth by Halloween, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released Monday by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Global Insight.
U.S. ports surveyed handled 1.26 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEU) of container traffic in April, the most recent month for which actual numbers are available. That’s up 8.9 percent from March, which registered the lowest volume in two years, but down 4.7 percent from April 2007.
“The numbers are still below last year but they are steadily climbing,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “That’s in line with forecasts that the economy could begin its slow recovery this fall and reflects retailers’ sales expectations for the holiday season.”