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Imports remain strong with major ports handling 2.21m TEU in Oct: NRF

IMPORTS remain strong after setting new records this fall as retailers stocked up both stores and warehouses for the holiday season and met new demands for quick delivery of online orders, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates

13 December 2020 - 19:00
IMPORTS remain strong after setting new records this fall as retailers stocked up both stores and warehouses for the holiday season and met new demands for quick delivery of online orders, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

'The pandemic has made the past year one of the most trying the supply chain has ever seen, but retailers have met that challenge,' said Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy, NRF.



'We've gone from not knowing whether we would be able to get merchandise from China to having a surplus of goods when stores were closed to having to meet pent-up demand as consumers returned. At this point, retailers have seen a successful holiday season so far and goods are reaching the shelves. We hope 2020 is a one-time experience, but we've learned a lot.'



US ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 2.21 million TEU in October, the latest month for which final numbers are available. That was up 17.6 per cent year over year and up 5.2 per cent from 2.11 million TEU in September, the previous record for a single month since NRF began tracking imports in 2002. September, in turn, had edged out 2.1 million TEU in August, which had broken the previous record of 2.04 million TEU set in October 2018.



October's number brought the total for the 'peak season' - the period from July through October when retailers rush to bring in merchandise for the winter holidays each year - to 8.3 million TEU. That was an increase of 8.8 per cent over the same time last year.



Even with most holiday merchandise already in the country, November imports remained strong at an estimated 2.07 million TEU - a 22.4 per cent jump year over year and the fourth-busiest month on record. December is forecast at 1.91 million TEU, up 11 per cent from last year, reports HomeWorld Business, Hauppauge, NY.



With the recent string of record months, 2020 is expected to come in at 21.8 million TEU, up 0.8 per cent over 2019. That would tie 2018 as the busiest year on record.



January 2021 is forecast at 1.86 million TEU, up 2.4 per cent from January 2020; February at 1.55 million TEU, up 2.6 per cent year over year; March at 1.62 million TEU, up 17.8 per cent from March 2020, when factories in China failed to reopen after the Lunar New Year holiday; and April at 1.74 million TEU, up 8.3 per cent year over year.


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