NRF: Imports Set to Hit New Monthly and Annual Records in August

The following article contains excerpts from a press release issued on August 9, 2017 by the National Retail Federation.

August 9, 2017 | August is expected to be the busiest month on record for imports at the nation’s major retail container ports while 2017 is on track to set a new annual high, according to a monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Retailers are selling more and that means they need to import more,” says Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy. “With sales showing year-over-year increases almost every month for a long time now, retail supply chains are working hard to keep up. These latest numbers are a good sign of what retailers expect in terms of consumer demand over the next few months.”

The ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.69 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in June, the latest month for which numbers are available, down 2 percent from May but up 7.5 percent from June 2016. July was estimated at 1.72 million TEU, up 5.6 percent from the same time last year. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

NRF estimates that August will bring in 1.75 million TEU, up 2.1 percent from last year – and the highest monthly volume recorded since NRF began tracking imports in 2000. The previous imports record was set in March 2015 at 1.73 million TEU.

For the rest of the year, the retail trade association estimates imports handled in September to be 1.67 million TEU, up 4.7 percent year-over-year; imports in October to be 1.72 million TEU, up 3 percent from 2016; imports in November to be 1.62 million TEU, down 1.4 percent from the prior year, and December at 1.59 million TEU, up 1.5 percent.

If the estimates are met, 2017 would see a total of 19.7 million TEU, topping last year’s imports record by 4.9 percent.

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.