Retail Imports Expected to Remain High

The National Retail Federation said in a recent report that imports are expected to remain high at U.S. ports through the first half of 2022.

The report said ports won’t see the “dramatic growth” of a year ago but strong consumer demand is expected to keep import volumes steady.

“Last year set a new bar for imports, and the numbers remain high as consumers continue to spend despite COVID-19 and inflation,” said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in a news release.

“The slowdown in cargo growth will be welcome as the supply chain continues to try to adapt to these elevated volumes.”

Gold noted that traffic through ports continues to be slow with 40 ships waiting to dock on Feb. 9 at the Port of Los Angeles. Some cargo will sit at a port for up to a month before it is unloaded.

The situation is expected to be exacerbated soon by shutdowns of Asian factories for the Lunar New Year.

U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker are projected to handle 13 million 20-foot equivalent units during the first half of 2022, an increase of 1.5 percent over the same period in 2021.

The report said ports handled 2.09 milion TEUs in December 2021, a decline of 1.2 percent compared with November 2021 and a drop of 1 percent on a year-over-year basis.

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