Retail Imports Projected for August Increase

Container PortWASHINGTON-Import volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to rise 1.7 percent in August, the first monthly increase since May, according to the most recent Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said, “As the economy continues to slowly improve, retailers are stocking up for their most important sales season of the year.” Gold added that retailers, which have been cautious in their inventory management over the past few months, “plan to make up for it in the next few months.”

In June, the most recent month with available numbers, import volume dropped 2.7 percent from May and 1.8 percent from June 2012. July is expected to result in a decline of 0.6 percent from July of last year.

Projections call for September to bring an increase of 1.9 percent, followed by an 8.3 percent gain in October. November’s import volume is projected to rise 6.7 percent, and December’s volume is expected to increase 3.5 percent. Assuming import volume meets these projections, the total for all of 2013 will be 2.4 percent higher than last year.

Ben Hackett, Hackett Associates’ founder, said the positive momentum expected for this month and beyond confirms “our view that the economy remains on a slow but steady course of recovery. The question is whether importers are building up stock ahead of expected sales demand or in response to recently announced freight rate increases.”