NRF: August Imports Set Second Record High as Retailers Prepare for Busy Holiday Season

The following article contains excerpts from a press release, “Imports Set a Second Record High as Retailers Prepare for Busy Holiday Season,” issued on October 10, 2017by the National Retail Federation.

October 10, 2017 | Imports set a second all-time monthly record high this summer as retailers brought in merchandise for the busy holiday season, and are continuing at unusually high levels this month, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

“When imports break records two months in a row, it’s hard to see that as anything other than a good sign about what retailers expect in consumer demand,” says Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy, in a press release. “Consumers are buying more, and everybody from dockworkers to truck drivers is trying to keep up. We hope this is a sign of a strong holiday season for retailers, shoppers, and our nation’s economy.”

The ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in August, the latest month for which numbers are available, up 1.4 percent over July and 5.6 percent over August 2016. The volume was the highest recorded since NRF began tracking imports in 2000, topping the previous record of 1.78 million TEU set in July.

The retail trade association estimates that September will bring in 1.65 million TEU, up 3.7 percent from last year, and October is forecast at 1.72 million TEU, up 2.8 percent. November imports are estimated at 1.62 million TEU, down 1.7 percent from last year, and December is forecast at 1.59 million TEU, up 1.3 percent.

Growth has slowed from the first half of the year but 2017 imports are expected to total 19.8 million TEU, topping last year’s previous record of 18.8 million TEU by 5.4 percent.

In addition, NRF estimates imports for January 2018 at 1.64 million TEU, down 2 percent from January 2017, and imports in February are estimated to be at 1.58 million TEU, up 10 percent from the same month in 2017.

NRF’s Global Port Tracker covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, CA, Oakland, CA, Seattle, WA, and Tacoma, WA on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, the Hampton Roads area in Virginia, Charleston, SC, Savannah, SC, Port Everglades, FL, and Miami, FL on the East Coast, and Houston, TX on the Gulf Coast.