Import traffic remains strong as retailers keep a wary eye on tariffs

September 12, 2018 – As reported by HomeWorld Business magazine today, retail sales remain strong with import traffic at the nation’s container ports continuing to grow, according to the Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

container port

Ports covered by the monthly report handled 1.9 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in July, up 2.8% from June and up 5.6% year-over-year.

“More tariffs could come any day, and retailers have been bringing in record amounts of merchandise ahead of that in order to mitigate the impact on their customers,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF VP/Supply Chain and Customs Policy. “Retail sales are growing stronger than expected this year thanks to tax cuts and job creation, but tariffs are the wild card that threatens to throw away a significant portion of those benefits.”

August was the third month in a row at 1.92 million TEUs, up 4.8% year-over-year to set a new record at for the number of containers imported during a single month, following July’s 1.9 million TEUs and June’s 1.85 million TEUs. The previous record of 1.83 million TEUs was set in August 2017.

September is forecast at 1.83 million TEUs, up 2.4%; October at 1.88 million, up 5%; November at 1.79 million TEUs, up 1.7%, and December also at 1.79 million TEUs, up 3.6%. January 2019 is forecast at 1.77 million TEUs, up 0.4% over January 2018.

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