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Imports to US major ports expected to take heavy blow in February

IMPORT volumes at the top US retail container ports are likely to dive this month on the back of the coronavirus outbreak

12 February 2020 - 19:00

IMPORT volumes at the top US retail container ports are likely to dive this month on the back of the coronavirus outbreak.

'February is historically a slow month for imports because of Lunar New Year and the lull between retailers' holiday season and summer, but this is an unusual situation,' said NRF vice president for supply chain Jonathan Gold in a report by Textile World.



'Many Chinese factories have already stayed closed longer than usual, and we don't know how soon they will reopen. US retailers were already beginning to shift some sourcing to other countries because of the trade war, but if shutdowns continue, we could see an impact on supply chains.'



US ports covered by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates' Global Port Tracker report handled 1.72 million TEU in December, an increase of 1.8 per cent from November but down 12.4 per cent from unusually high numbers at the end of 2018 ahead of a scheduled tariff increase that was ultimately scrapped.



December's numbers brought 2019 to a total of 21.6 million TEU, a 0.8 per cent decline from 2018 amid the ongoing trade war but still the second-highest year on record. Imports during 2018 reached a record of 21.8 million TEU, partly due to frontloading ahead of the anticipated 2019 tariffs.



January was estimated at 1.82 million TEU, down 3.8 per cent from January 2019. February is forecast to be down 12.9 per cent year on year at 1.41 million TEU.


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