Import volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to grow 5.1% in September over the same month last year as retailers head into the holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation.
U.S. ports followed by the monthly Global Port Tracker report, released by the NRF and Hackett Associates, handled 1.43 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in July, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available.
That was a 5.4% increase from June and up 1.1% from July 2012, and follows year-over-year declines in three of the four previous months. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent. August was estimated at 1.48 million TEU, up 4.1% from last year. September is forecast at 1.48 million TEU, up 5.1%, October at 1.46 million TEU, up 9%; November at 1.31 million TEU, up 2.2%; and December at 1.3 million TEU, up 0.7%. January 2014 is forecast at 1.33 million TEU, up 1.9% from January 2013.
The total for 2013 is forecast at 16.2 million TEU, up 2.5% from 2012’s 15.8 million TEU. The first six months of 2013 totaled 7.8 million TEU, up 1.2% from the first half of 2012.
“The U.S. economy is on the road to sustained growth,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. “Second-quarter GDP was well above expectations and surprised most forecasters, the unemployment picture is improving, and we believe consumer confidence will translate into increased sales during the fourth quarter.”