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Container traffic remains flat

BY Brae Canlen

Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is staying at about the same levels this summer as last year, although traffic is expected to pick up this fall, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

U.S. ports handled 1.28 million TEU in May, the latest month for which numbers are available. (One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent.) That was up 6% from April and 1% from May 2010. It was the 18th month in a row to show a year-over-year improvement after December 2009 broke a 28-month streak of year-over-year declines.

“With the economy facing continuing challenges, retailers are managing their inventory levels carefully,” said Jonathan Gold, VP supply chain and customs policy for NRF. “But the increases in import volume expected this fall are a clear sign that retailers are confident consumer demand will be there in the fourth quarter.”   

June was estimated at 1.31 million TEU, about eight-tenths of 1% down from June 2010, if the estimate holds true when final numbers become available. July is forecast at 1.36 million TEU, which would be a 1.3% decrease from a year ago, and August is forecast at 1.43 million TEU, up six-tenths of 1% from last year. Stronger increases are expected to return in September as retailers begin to stock up for the holiday season, with volume forecast at 1.47 million TEU, up 10% from last year. October is forecast at 1.53 million TEU, up 18%, and November at 1.41 million TEU, up 19%.

The U.S. ports covered by Port Tracker are: Los 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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Simpson adds decking software partner

BY Brae Canlen

Simpson Strong-Tie has announced that it will now be offering decking software solutions from Feeney Inc., a leading manufacturer of high-quality, innovative architectural and garden products. Feeney has joined Simpson’s DeckTools deck sales and design software partners’ library with some of its most popular products: CableRail railing infill cables, Lightline door canopies, and two styles of wall-mounted cable and rod trellises. 

DeckTools software is a sales, design and estimating program that enables deck builders, remodelers and suppliers to design decks in a photo-realistic, 3D environment. Users can customize nearly every detail, from the deck shape and railings to canopies and material choices. By showing homeowners images of their finished deck designs and making it easy to select upgrades instantly, sales are closed much faster. In addition, the program can quickly generate plans, proposals and material lists. Feeney is one of many brand-name deck product manufacturers to be included in the program’s partners’ library.

Based in Pleasanton, Calif., Simpson Strong-Tie is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of connectors, fasteners, fastening systems, anchors and lateral-force resisting systems.

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Buy.com adds home improvement products

BY Brae Canlen

Buy.com, a leading e-commerce marketplace, has expanded into the home improvement arena through a partnership with CPO Commerce, a leading supplier of new and reconditioned tools and other home channel products. Customers can now shop for more than 6,000 hammers, drills, saws and other tools, all with free shipping, through Buy.com’s CPO Outlets store online section. Products also include floor care, ceiling fans, saws, generators, lawn care products, pressure washers and compressors.

Buy.com now features more than 15 million product listings from thousands of third-party retailers spanning more than 25 product categories, including games, apparel and shoes, books, bags and luggage, fragrance, software, sporting goods, jewelry, toys, wine and more. 

CPO Commerce, based in Pasadena, Calif., operates 30 co-branded home improvement e-commerce sites. Many of them carry both new and closeout, discontinued and factory-reconditioned products. It recently purchased TylerTools.com

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