Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should see its traditional buildup toward the summer despite difficult comparisons with last year’s unusual patterns, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and consulting firm Hackett Associates.
“Comparisons are still complicated because of last year’s situation at the West Coast ports but should clear up in the second half of the year,” says Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy. “Year-over-year numbers are skewed but on a monthly basis imports are building normally as the back-to-school season approaches.”
Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in January, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 4.4% from December and 21.4% from unusually low figures in January 2015, the month before a new contract with dockworkers was signed to end a near-shutdown at West Coast ports.