IMPORT volume through US major ports should be at near-peak levels this month even as retailers work to cope with the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.
"Hanjin should not significantly affect volume for the month since alternative arrangements to unload those containers or shift cargo elsewhere should be dealt with by the time the numbers are tallied," said NRF vice president Jonathan Gold.
"But millions of dollars worth of merchandise is in limbo at the moment, and retailers are working hard to make sure they ends up on store shelves in time for the holidays."
Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.63 million TEU in July, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 3.2 per cent from June and up 0.7 per cent from July 2015.
August was estimated at 1.67 million TEU, down 0.4 per cent from last year, and is expected to have been the busiest month of the annual shipping-cycle buildup to the holiday shopping season.
September is forecast at 1.62 million TEU, down 0.2 per cent from last year; October at 1.63 million TEU, up 5.3 per cent from last year; November at 1.53 million TEU, up 3.8 per cent, and December at 1.49 million TEU, up 3.6 per cent.
Those numbers should bring 2016 to a total of 18.6 million TEU, up 1.8 per cent from last year. Total volume for 2015 was 18.2 million TEU, up 5.4 per cent from 2014. The first half of 2016 totalled nine million TEU, up 1.6 per cent from the same period in 2015.
January 2017 is forecast at 1.53 million TEU, up 2.8 per cent from January 2016.
"Despite the apparent slowdown in economic activity being reported around the world, the volume of imports continues to grow slowly, much along the lines that we have been projecting," Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said.
Global Port Tracker covers the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Houston.
Source : HKSG.