Posts Tagged ‘National Retail Federation’

Retail Imports Expected to Remain High

February 14, 2022

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.

Imports Heading for Record Levels

December 10, 2021

The National Retail Federal said this week that it expects 2021 imports to set records for largest volume and fastest growth on record.

The trade group said retail imports for 2021 are expected to total 26 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), up 18.3 percent over last year and the highest number since NRF began tracking imports in 2002.

If those projections hold up, they would surpass last year’s record of 22 million, a 1.9 percent increase.

In a news release, NRF said the highest growth was 16.7 percent in 2010, when the economy was recovering from the Great Recession of 2008.

NRF officials said that despite double-digit growth of imports, single-month year-over-year growth has remained in the single digits and is expected to stay that way through the first quarter of 2022.

Imports Expected to Remain High for Rest of Year

November 10, 2021

The National Retail Federation reported this week that congestion continues at the nation’s ports as imports continue tat high levels.

It said more than 70 ships were waiting to dock at ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach in California and that imposts are expected to remain at near-record levels for the remainder of the year as retailers seek to stock shelves for the Christmas holiday shopping season.

The trade association said retail volume this year is expected to rise 10.5 percent compared with 2020 figures.

The average wait during the past two months for ships to dock at the Port of Los Angeles has been two weeks. That has created a cascading effect of delaying the arrival of ships at other ports.

Some shipping lines have diverted vessels to other ports, but the NRF report said congestion is building nationwide.

NRF projects that October will prove to be one of the busiest months on record for imports with volume reaching 2.19 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), although that would be down 1.22 percent from October 2020..

However, NRF officials said 2021 retail numbers are much higher than 2020 due to continued economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first half of 2021 totaled 12.8 million TEUs, up over 35 percent over 2020 levels with the current year expected to surpass the 2020 mark of 22 million TEUs.

Imports Remain at Near Record Levels

October 9, 2021

The National Retail Federation said this week that imports at the largest U.S. retail container ports are expected to remain at near-record levels but could see a slight dip from last year’s unusually high numbers as congestion slows the movement of backed-up cargo.

“The cargo is there for larger gains at several ports but congestion issues are impacting fluid operations,” said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold.

“Ships will eventually get unloaded but the pressure is on for everyone to work together to get the containers out as quickly as possible.”

The NRF report said the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the loading of U.S.-bound ships, while shortages of equipment, labor and outbound truck and rail capacity continue to cause congestion at U.S. ports.

Nearly 75 ships were waiting to enter the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, up from around 25 a month earlier. The backups have begun spreading to East Coast ports, too.

U.S. ports covered by NRF’s Global Port Tracker handled 2.27 million twenty-foot equivalent units  in August.

That was up 3.5 percent from July and up 7.8 percent compared with the same period in 2020. It also tied March as the second-busiest month since NRF began tracking imports in 2002.

May remains the busiest month on record at 2.33 million TEUs.

U.S. Imports Set Record in March

May 11, 2021

The National Retail Federation reported this week that Imports at U.S. container ports set a record this spring and volume during the first half of 2021 is expected to be a third higher than in 2020 as the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. ports handled 2.27 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in March, an increase of 21.2 percent over February.

That is a record for the number of containers logged during a single month since NRF began tracking imports in 2002.

The previous record of 2.21 million TEUs was set last October.

March volume was up a record 64.9 percent over the same month in 2020 but the growth rate was artificially high because many Asian factories had shut down due to the pandemic at this point last year and most U.S. stores had been ordered to close.

First-half volume is forecast to be up 33.9 percent versus the same period in 2020. As with March, the growth is skewed because of the sharp decline in imports during the first half of 2020.

However, the projected six-month total of 12.7 million TEUs would put 2021 on track to beat 2020’s full-year total of 22 million TEUs, which was up 1.9 percent over 2019 despite the pandemic.

Imports Expects to Stay High Through Summer

April 9, 2021

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.

Imports Expected to Keep Setting Records

February 11, 2021

Imports at the largest U.S. container ports are expected to continue setting monthly records into next summer.

The pace of imports accelerated in the second half of last year as the economy sought to recover from an economic downturn prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Retail Federal said.

NRT and Hackett Associates said retail sales during the November-December holiday season set a record $789.4 billion, up 8.3 percent over 2019 levels.

Preliminary figures show retail sales for all of 2020 were up 6.8 percent on a year-over-year basis.

U.S. ports covered by NRT’s Global Port Tracker handled 2.11 million 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) in December, the latest month for which final numbers are available.

That was an increase of 0.2 percent over November 2020 and a 22.3 percent rise year over the same month in 2019. 

That brought the 2020 total to 22 million TEUs, up 1.9 percent over 2019’s 21.6 million TEUs and besting the record of 21.8 million TEUs recorded in 2018.

Although January results aren’t yet available, volume for the month is projected at 2.08 million TEUs, which would be a 14.6 percent increase over the same month in 2020.

Imports Set Record in August

October 14, 2020

The National Retail Federation reported last week that U.S. ports handled 2.1 million 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) in August, a 9.7 percent increase from July and an 8 percent rise over 2019.

August saw the highest number of containers imported in a single month since the group began tracking imports in 2002.

The previous record was 2.04 million in October 2018 ahead of a scheduled tariff increase, NRF said in a news release.

Imports set records last summer as retail sales rebounded bounced back from the pandemic and merchants refilled inventories and stocked up early for the holiday season.

Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy said retailers are stocking up for the holidays earlier than usual because they expect consumers will shop early to avoid crowds and delays in receiving their orders.

Container Imports Expected to Continue Lagging

August 12, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession is expected to depress U.S. retail container imports this year to their lowest level in four years.

The National Retail Federal said this week that U.S. ports handled 1.61 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo in June, up nearly 5 percent compared to May but down 10.5 percent year compared to 2019 levels.

NRF expects monthly TEU totals between July and December to be between 1.59 million TEUs and 1.81 million TEUs.

The trade group’s forecast for each month would be down between 5.8 percent and 9.6 percent compared with the totals from 2019.

If those figures hold, the TEU total for 2020 would be 19.6 million TEUs, down 9.4 percent from last year and the lowest annual total since 19.1 million TEUs in 2016.

The first half of 2020 totaled 9.5 million TEUs, down 10.1 percent from last year.

August is expected to be the busiest month of the July-October “peak season” when retailers rush to bring in merchandise for the winter holidays, NRF officials said.

But with retailers ordering less merchandise the August would be the lowest peak for the season since 1.73 million TEUs in 2016 and falls far short of the 1.96 million TEUs peak in 2019.

Pandemic to Hold Down Imports Rest of 2020

July 21, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue to hold down imports at major U.S. retail container ports to levels that will be significantly below last year the National Retail Federation said.

In a news release, Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customers policy, said retailers are being conservative with the amount of merchandise they are importing this year.

U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker handled 1.53 million 20-foot equivalent units  in May, down 4.8 percent from April and down 17.2 percent compared with 2019.

“U.S. imports are performing like a yo-yo, up one month and down the next with no apparent cause that can realistically point to either a crashing or booming economy,” said Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, which, with the NRF, releases the monthly Global Port Tracker report.

Hacket said consumers may be starting to go out to eat and buy clothing again but retailers are unsure if current consumer activity is sustainable.

“The danger is that the rising number of virus infections is leading to renewed restrictions, which may cause demand to weaken again,” he said.

Imports for the six-month period from May through October are expected to total 9.9 million TEUs, a 0.7 percent improvement from the amount forecast a month ago.