Imports Likely to Fall Below 2021 Levels

The National Retail Federal said last week that imports at the nation’s major container ports are expected to fall below last year’s levels for the remainder of 2022.

“Consumers are still buying, but the cargo surge we saw during the past two years appears to be slowing down,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a news release.

Gold said in a statement that cargo levels are above pre-pandemic levels, but the rate of growth has slowed into negative numbers compared with unusually high volumes of 2021.

“The number of vessels waiting to dock on the West Coast has been reduced to near-normal,” the trade group said.

“But with the switch of some cargo to the East Coast, congestion and pressure on the ports has shifted to the East Coast. The inland supply chain, particularly rail, continues to face difficulties that have resulted in the delay of containers leaving ports, causing terminal congestion that impacts the ability of carriers to discharge their cargo.”

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 2.18 million 20-foot equivalent units — one 20-foot container or its equivalent — in July.

That was down 3.1 percent from June and down 0.4 percent from July 2021 — only the third year-over-year decline in two years and the first since December 2021.

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