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Little Relief Anticipated for Retailers as Cargo Volume Expected to Remain High; Jonathan Gold and Ben Hackett Discuss

Little Relief Anticipated for Retailers as Cargo Volume Expected to Remain High; Jonathan Gold and Ben Hackett Discuss


WASHINGTON, DC
Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

The transportation industry continues to face further challenges, rippling along the supply chain for buyers and suppliers alike. Recent reports show that imports have set another record high this spring. With peak shipping season kicking in, congestion and port labor issues weigh heavily across the industries, especially for retailers.

Jonathan Gold, Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy, National Retail Federation“Cargo volume is expected to remain high as we head into the peak shipping season, and it is essential that all ports continue to operate with minimal disruption,” National Retail Federation (NRF) Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Supply chain challenges will continue throughout the remainder of the year, and it is particularly important that labor and management at West Coast ports remain at the bargaining table and reach an agreement.”

As noted in a release, the contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association expired on July 1, but cargo operations are still running.

Imports have set another record high this spring, and as peak shipping season begins, congestion and port labor pose challenges, especially for retailers

According to NRF and Hackett Associates’ monthly Global Port Tracker report, ports saw a surge in activity this spring as slowdowns in cargo from Chinese factories caused by COVID-19 gave an opportunity to clear congestion. During that time, retailers brought in seasonal merchandise and other goods to avoid potential problems created by negotiations.

The United States ports covered in the Global Port Tracker handled 2.4 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU)—one 20-foot container or its equivalent—in May. That was an increase of 6 percent from April and 2.7 percent year-over-year. That number also set a new record for the number of containers imported in a single month since NRF began tracking imports in 2002.

According to NRF and Hackett Associates’ monthly Global Port Tracker report, ports saw a surge in activity this spring as slowdowns in cargo from Chinese factories caused by COVID-19 gave an opportunity to clear congestion

Ports have yet to report June numbers, but Global Port Tracker projected the month at 2.25 million TEU, up 4.8 percent from last year. July is forecasted at 2.31 million TEU, up 5.3 percent from last year.

Ben Hackett, Founder, Hackett Associates“Congestion of ships waiting to berth on the West Coast has eased, and we expect to see the same on the East Coast as carriers begin to return to their normal patterns of port calls,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “After a short period of decline, freight rates are on the rise again as congestion in Europe and idle vessels there take capacity out of circulation.”

Click here for the Global Port Tracker report.

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National Retail Federation
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