Imports Expected to Slow in 2022 Second Half

Imports are expected to slow in the second half of this year the National Retail Federation predicted this week.

That will go a long way toward easing the congestion that has hindered supply chains in the past year. Nonetheless, NRF said that imports for 2022 should be a net gain over 2021.

NRF projects that 2022 retail sales will grow between 6 percent to 8 percent over 2021. Sales rose 7 percent in the year’s first half.

The slow down would come on the heels of record-setting imports last spring at North American container ports.

“Retail sales are still growing, but the economy is slowing down, and that is reflected in cargo imports,” said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in a statement.

Gold said supply-chain challenges are not yet past, citing the potential for labor strife as labor negotiations at the West Coast ports and the freight railroads continue.

The contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association expired July 1, and many retailers brought in cargo early and shifted to East and Gulf Coast ports to avoid any potential disruptions related to contract negotiations.

The Port of Oakland was briefly shut down in late July by protests by independent truckers over a new state law that they say seeks to eliminate independent owner-operators.

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