Imports Expects to Stay High Through Summer

The National Retail Federation expects imports at U.S. container ports to continue to be robust through the end of the summer.

Imports began surging in summer 2020 in response to increased consumer demand.

The trade group said imports hit a low point in March 2020, when they fell to 1.37 million 20-foot equivalent units as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

Imports hit a then-record 2.1 million TEUs in August 2020 as the economy began rebounding and peaked at 2.21 million TEUs in October 2020.

NRF expects import volume to remain at or above the 2 million-TEU mark for 11 out of 13 months by this coming August.

Before 2020, monthly imports had reached the 2 million-TEU mark only once, in October 2018.

The trade association predicted that May import volume will be 2 million TEUs, which would achieve a 30.6 percent year-over-year increase.

June volume is projected at 2.01 million TEUs, a 24.9 percent gain; July volume predicted to be be 2.04 million TEUs, a 6.5 percent rise; and August volume is forecast at 2.08 million TEUs, a 1.2 percent decline.

In a news release, NRF said the surge in imports has resulted in months of backups at ports, which have faced labor shortages because of COVID-19 infections and equipment shortages due to high volume.

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