According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released recently by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, imports at the USA’s major container ports are expected to slow significantly for the remainder of the year, but 2022 should still see a net gain over 2021 after a record-setting spring.
“Retail sales are still growing, but the economy is slowing down and that is reflected in cargo imports,” commented Jonathan Gold, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy.
Jonathan further added, “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 labour 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.”
According to Ben Hackett, Founder, Hackett Associates, the heady days of growth in imports are quickly receding and 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.
It’s worth noting here that the US ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 2.25 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units – one 20-foot container or its equivalent – in June ’22, which was down 5.90 per cent from May’s 2.4 million TEU – the largest number of containers imported in a single month since NRF began tracking imports in 2002 – but up 4.90 per cent year-over-year (Y-o-Y).
June’s results brought the first half of the year to 13.5 million TEU, a 5.5 percent increase Y-o-Y.