Retail Import Volume to Gain in May

Container PortWASHINGTON-Import volume at the nation’s major retailer container ports is projected to rise 3.5 percent in May, according to the most recent Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

A statement on the report added that negotiators are preparing to begin negotiations on a new contract for West Coast dockworkers. “We’re expecting a lot of cargo to move through the ports this summer, and we want to make sure there aren’t any supply-chain disruptions that would impact the cargo flow,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy. “We hope there won’t be any issues, but the sooner labor and management can agree on a new contract, the better it will be for everyone who relies on the West Coast ports.”

The West Coast ports handle more than two-thirds of U.S. retail container cargo each year, including the bulk of the cargo from Asia, the statement said.

In March, the most recent month with available data, import volume rose 5.1 percent from February and 14.5 percent from March of last year. April is expected to bring a gain of 6.1 percent year over year.

The report projected June’s increase at 5.6 percent, followed by a 3 percent gain in July. August is expected to see volume rise by 0.8 percent, and September’s gain is forecast at 0.1 percent.

Ben Hackett, Hackett Associates’ founder, said, “Most economic fundamentals are pointing in the direction of continued, sustained recovery in consumer demand and import volumes. This is turning out to be the longest period of growth for some time now.”