Retail container traffic to be up slightly in December

Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports should be up 0.3% in December compared with the same month last year, as retailers head to the finish line of the holiday shopping season, according to the monthly “Global Port Tracker” report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“The uptick we’re expecting for December isn’t large at all but it comes after several months where retailers had reduced their imports from last year, so it’s a positive sign by comparison,” said NRF VP supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “Retailers are placing a cautious bet that consumer demand is increasing.”

The total for 2011 is forecast at 14.73 million TEU, down one-tenth of 1% from last year’s 14.75 million TEU.

Global Port Tracker counts only the number of cargo containers imported, not the value of their contents, so cargo volume does not directly correlate with retail sales. 

Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Long Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

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