Trade Group Expects Imports Surge This Month

The National Retail Federation projects that imports at major U.S. ports will see a surge in November in order to beat new tariffs set to go into effect on Dec. 15.

The trade organization said it has closely watching developments in the trade war, including the cancellation of a round of tariffs that had been set to begin in October and the announcement last month by the Trump administration of a partial trade deal with China.

That deal has yet to be signed and no details of the pact have been disclosed.

“Retailers are highly competitive, but the ability to compete has been challenging this year because of the uncertainty of the trade war and continued tariff escalation,” said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in a statement. “We are eager to see concrete evidence that the trade war is coming to an end with a final deal that removes all tariffs.”

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.87 million 20-foot- equivalent units in September which was a 0.2 percent year-over-year increase but down 4.7 percent from August, when imports were at the second-highest level on record — 1.97 million TEUs — ahead of tariffs that took effect Sept. 1.

The first half of 2019 totaled 10.5 million TEUs, up 2.1 percent over the first half of 2018, and 2019 is expected to see a new annual record of 22 million TEUs. That would be up 1 percent from last year’s previous record of 21.8 million TEUs.

Global Port Tracker is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates. It covers the U.S. 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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