US retail box volume expected to rise 8pc in January
US import cargo volume at the nation's major container ports is expected to be up eight per cent in January over the same month last year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report Tuesday, 18.Jan.2011, 11:48 (GMT+3)
US import cargo volume at the nation's major container ports is expected to be up eight per cent in January over the same month last year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.
"While the economy clearly began to recover in 2010 and drove up cargo volume as retail sales improved, maintaining that momentum in 2011 could be difficult," said NRF vice president Jonathan Gold. "Consumers faced with continued high unemployment are expected to focus more on necessities than discretionary spending. Retailers will continue to carefully gauge consumer demand and adjust import levels accordingly."
US ports handled 1.23 million TEU in November, the latest month for which actual numbers are available. That was down 1.6 per cent from October as stocking up for the holiday season wound down, but up 13 per cent from November 2009. It was the 12th month in a row to show year-on-year improvement after December 2009 broke a 28-month streak of year-on-year declines.
December was estimated at 1.16 million TEU, a 7 per cent increase over December 2009. January is forecast to stay at that level, but the figure will represent an eight per cent increase over January 2010. February is forecast at 1.14, up 13 per cent from a year earlier; March at 1.18 million TEU, up nine per cent; and April at 1.21, up seven per cent. May is forecast at 1.24, down two per cent from last year.
The first half of 2010 totalled 6.9 million TEU, up 17 per cent from the same period in 2009. The full year is estimated at 14.8 million TEU, also up 17 per cent. The 12.7 million TEU seen in 2009 was the lowest since the 12.5 million TEU reported in 2003. The 2010 number remains below the 15.2 million TEU seen in 2008 and the peak of 16.5 million TEU seen in 2007.
"Our projections for 2011 remain firm, albeit not at the levels of the recovery rates of last year," Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. "Growth in the upper single-digit levels can be expected, particularly on the west coast."
Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the US ports of Long Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah and Houston.