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National Retail Federation Report Shows Imports Slowing in Second Half of the Year; Jonathan Gold and Ben Hackett Discuss

National Retail Federation Report Shows Imports Slowing in Second Half of the Year; Jonathan Gold and Ben Hackett Discuss


WASHINGTON, DC
Thursday, August 11th, 2022

Perhaps the only constant we can plan for is change. Such is the expectation for retail, especially as United States ports continue to face fluctuations. Recent data from the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates note that imports at U.S. major container ports are expected to slow significantly for the remainder of the year.

Jonathan Gold, Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy, National Retail Federation“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. “Lower volumes may help ease congestion at some ports, but others are still seeing backups, and global supply chain challenges are far from over. Our biggest concern is the potential for disruption because of separate labor negotiations at the West Coast ports and the freight railroads. Concluding both sets of negotiations without disruption is critical as the important holiday season approaches.”

The report explained that this slowing of imports follows a record-setting spring, and that 2022 is still expected to see a net gain over 2021.

Imports at the nation’s major container ports are expected to slow significantly for the remainder of the year, following a record-setting spring

U.S. ports handled 2.25 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in June, the latest month for which final numbers are available. These numbers represent a 5.9 percent decrease from May’s 2.4 million TEU, which was the largest number of containers imported in a single month since NRF began tracking imports in 2002.

Despite this decrease, the numbers are still up 4.9 percent year over year. June’s results brought the first half of the year to 13.5 million TEU, a 5.5 percent increase year over year.

Ben Hackett, Founder, Hackett Associates“The heady days of growth in imports are quickly receding,” commented Ben Hacket, Founder of Hackett Associates. “The outlook is for a decline in volumes compared with 2021 over the next few months, and the decline is expected to deepen in 2023.”

Although ports have yet to report the numbers for July, the Global Port Tracker projected the month at 2.26 million TEU, an increase of 3.2 percent year over year. August is forecasted at 2.2 million TEU. September is expected to see 2.15 million TEU, with 2.13 million in October, 2.06 million in November, and 2.03 million in December. These numbers would bring the second half of the year to 12.8 million TEU, a 1.5 percent decrease from the same period last year, but bringing overall 2022 numbers up 2 percent from last year’s annual record of 25.8 million TEU.

As these insights are unveiled, NRF continues to anticipate 2022 retail sales to grow between 6 percent and 8 percent over 2021, as sales were up 7 percent during the first half of the year.

Deli Market News will continue to report on port and supply chain updates, so stay tuned.

National Retail Federation
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