Even though import cargo volume at major US retail container ports is on the downswing, analysts still expect totals to be up 9 percent in November over the same month last year.
As you may recall, December 2009 broke a 28-month streak of year-over-year declines. Then, this past September the latest month for which actual numbers are available was the tenth month in a row to show a year-over-year improvement.
Now, according to the Global Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates:
November is forecast at 1.19 million TEU, up 9 percent from last year.
December at 1.1 million TEU, up 1 percent.
January 2011 is forecast at 1.08 million TEU, the same as January 2010.
February, traditionally the slowest month of the year, is forecast at 1.06 million TEU, up 5 percent from last year.
March is forecast at 1.08 million TEU, up 1 percent.
Numbers beyond March have not yet been calculated, but a solid recovery is expected in the second and third quarters of 2011 after the usual winter slowdown.
Although other quarters have voiced concerns about a double-dip recession, Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett, remains optimistic.
"Despite the economic uncertainty and the underlying weakness of the economy, we continue not to project a double-dip recession," he said. "Underlying fundamentals remain healthy. Inventory-to-sale ratios, while going up marginally, are still at a 10-year low, suggesting extremely tight supply chain management. Consumer confidence has not changed much over the last four months, but consumer expenditures have picked up. The fear of unemployment and financial exposure may be waning."