WASHINGTON, D.C.– The National Retail Federation (NRF)’s Global Port Tracker said that major ports in the U.S. are expected to experience a small increase in July as merchants stock up for the back-to-school season.
“Back-to-school and the holidays are the two biggest shopping seasons of the year for retailers and these numbers reflect that,” said NRF vice president Jonathan Gold.
“After west coast ports slowdown, we’re finally seeing normal trends. Some numbers are still down from last year, but the pattern of building up toward the big seasons has returned,” he said.
Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.63 million TEU in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 12.8 per cent from April and 1.1 per cent from May 2015, said the release.
June was estimated at 1.56 million TEU, down 0.5 per cent from the same month last year. July is forecast at 1.64 million TEU, up 1.4 per cent from last year; August at 1.65 million TEU, down two per cent; September at 1.58 million TEU, down 2.6 per cent; October at 1.62 million TEU, up 4.4 per cent, and November at 1.52 million TEU, up 2.8 per cent. Even though volume will be lower than the same month last year, August is expected to be the peak shipping month of the year.
The first half of 2016 is expected to total 8.99 million TEU, up 1.5 per cent from the same period in 2015. Total volume for 2015 was 18.2 million TEU, up 5.4 per cent from 2014.
“Trade is holding on to a small margin of growth, but this growth comes in the face of some adverse statistics as well as positive ones,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said.
“The good news is that retail sales have remained positive as the consumer continues to cautiously spend. The hope is that this spending will continue,” he said.
The survey tracks the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Houston.