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National Retail Federation Reports Imports at Record High with Consumer Spending Up; Jonathan Gold and Ben Hackett Comment

National Retail Federation Reports Imports at Record High with Consumer Spending Up; Jonathan Gold and Ben Hackett Comment


WASHINGTON, DC
Thursday, June 13th, 2024

A record high for imports is expected in the United States this summer. The National Retail Federation announced that imports are forecasted to rise 2.5–3.5 percent over 2023—its highest level in two years.

Jonathan Gold, Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy, National Retail Federation“Consumers are continuing to spend more than last year, and retailers are stocking up to meet demand, especially as we head into peak shipping season,” National Retail Federation (NRF) Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. The Federation, with Hackett Associates, released a Global Port Tracker forecasting 2024 core retail sales, excluding restaurants, gas stations, and auto dealers. “The high level of imports expected over the next several months is an encouraging sign that retailers are confident in strong sales throughout the remainder of the year. Unfortunately, retailers are also facing supply chain challenges again, this time with congestion at overseas ports that are affecting operations and shipping rates.”

Global Port Tracker, according to a press release, provides historical data and forecasts for several U.S. ports, including:

  • Los Angeles/Long Beach, CA
  • Oakland, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Tacoma, WA
  • New York/New Jersey
  • Virginia
  • Charleston, SC
  • Savannah, GA
  • Port Everglades, FL
  • Miami, FL
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Houston, TX

Ben Hackett, Founder, Hackett Associates“Imports of containerized goods at U.S. ports are booming, with particularly strong growth on the West Coast,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “In the last couple of years, we have witnessed a flattened peak season that has stretched out the volume of imports over extra months versus the strong, consolidated surge seen in the past. Reasons range from retailers restocking following strong sales after the pandemic to trying to get ahead of increased tariffs on goods from China set to take effect in August and ensuring sufficient inventories for the holiday season amid strong consumer demand.”

An expected seven-month string of import levels above 2 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units—a level reached only twice since October 2022—is partly due to changes in the annual peak season for shipping, Hackett explained.

Imports are forecasted to rise 2.5–3.5 percent over 2023, with global spending up and U.S. monthly inbound cargo volume expected to see its highest level in two years in the summerThe complete report, free to NRF retail members, can be seen here.

Keep reading DMN as we bring you more port updates.

National Retail Federation
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