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Retail Container Traffic to be Up 9 Percent in April
WASHINGTON, April 11, 2011 – Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to be up 9 percent in April over the same month last year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“These numbers are an indication that the economy is recovering and retailers are expecting continued increases in sales through the summer and beyond,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said.
“There are challenges ahead from rising prices for gasoline and other essentials, but inventories are under control and retailers are optimistic.”
U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.1 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units in February, traditionally the slowest month of the year and the latest for which actual numbers are available. That was down 8 percent from January but up 10 percent from February 2010.
It was the 15th month in a row to show a year-over-year improvement after December 2009 broke a 28-month streak of year-over-year declines. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.
March was estimated at 1.2 million TEU, an increase of 11 percent over March 2010. April is forecast at 1.24 million TEU, up 9 percent from a year ago; May at 1.32 million TEU, up 4 percent; June at 1.38 million TEU, up 5 percent; July at 1.45 million TEU, up 5 percent; and August at 1.54 million TEU, up 8 percent.
The first half of 2011 is forecast at 7.4 million TEU, up 8 percent from the first half of 2010. For the full year, 2010 totaled 14.7 million TEU, a 16 percent increase over 2009. Last year’s percentages were high because 2009’s 12.7 million TEU was the lowest level seen since 2003.
“The economy is slowly on the mend with many of the key short-term indicators providing positive directions,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. “Consumers are buoyed by falling unemployment and are somewhat freer with their money.”
Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Long Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast. The report is free to NRF retail members, and subscription information is available at www.nrf.com/PortTracker or by calling (202) 783-7971. Subscription information for non-members can be found at www.globalportracker.com.
As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, the National Retail Federation's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. In the United States, NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2010 sales of $2.4 trillion. www.nrf.com
Hackett Associates provides expert consulting, research and advisory services to the international maritime industry, government agencies and international institutions.