Retail Imports Projected for 4.8 Percent Rise in January

Retail Container ImportsWASHINGTON-Import volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 4.8 percent in January over the same month last year, according to the most recent Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associations.

Estimates also indicated that, for all of 2013, import volume topped 2012 by 2.8 percent. Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said, “Retailers are still assessing the holiday season, but they’re also looking ahead to see what will happen in the new year. Based on these early numbers, 2014 looks like it should be off to a good start.”

In November, the most recent month with available data, import volume was up 6.5 percent over November 2012. The estimate for December calls for a 5 percent year-over year increase. Looking ahead, the Global Port Tracker projected a 7.5 percent volume decline in February, a 15.9 percent gain for March, a 7.7 percent increase for April and a 4.6 percent gain in May.

“The new year looks to be stronger than the outgoing one, with better-than-expected GDP figures, lower unemployment rates and continued low inflation,” said Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates. “Expectations of a stronger dollar will also help increase consumer confidence as import prices continue to fall.”