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US ports see record imports as retailers stock up for holiday period

PRELIMINARY statistics from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates show that imports through US major ports set a peak season record this summer and fall as retailers stocked up for the holidays

11 November 2020 - 19:00

PRELIMINARY statistics from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates show that imports through US major ports set a peak season record this summer and fall as retailers stocked up for the holidays.

According to data from the groups' monthly Global Port Tracker reportt US ports handled an estimated 8.1 million TEU from July through October, a 6 per cent increase over last year and higher than the previous peak-season record of 7.7 million TEU set in 2018.



NRF and Hackett estimate October imports at 2 million TEU, up 6.5 per cent year on year, and are forecasting a slight increase in November and a decline in imports for December. Despite the summer and fall gains, 2020 is expected to see an overall decline in imports, with an anticipated 3.4 per cent drop to 20.5 million TEU - the lowest annual total since 2017, reports DC Velocity of North Attleboro, Massachusetts, US.



Representatives from NRF and Hackett Associates said the preliminary results are an encouraging sign for the retail economy as it struggles to overcome this year's pandemic-related challenges.



'Part of this surge was fuelled by restocking after retail sales rebounded this summer and part could be making sure there aren't shortages if we see panic buying again,' NRF vice president for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement.



'The economic challenges of the pandemic aren't over yet, but this clearly shows how an industry that has been under stress is fighting back in a positive way. Retailers don't import merchandise they don't think they can sell, so this is a good sign for the holiday season,' Mr Gold added.



Global Port Tracker provides historical data and forecasts for the US ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Port of Virginia, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami, and Jacksonville on the East Coast; and Houston on the Gulf Coast.


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