Retail container imports expected to rise 4.8% in June
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 4.8% in June compared with the same month last year, and year-over-year increases are expected to continue into the holiday season shipping cycle, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“Retail sales have seen 22 straight months of year-over-year sales increases, and these import projections suggest retailers should see growth into the two-year mark and beyond,” NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “Cargo numbers don’t correlate directly into sales numbers, but they are an indicator of how much retailers think they can sell.”
U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.23 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in April, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was 3.9% from March and 1.5% from April 2011. (One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent.)
May was estimated at 1.29 million TEU, up 0.5% from a year ago, and June is forecast at 1.31 million TEU, up 4.8% from the same time last year. July is forecast at 1.36 million TEU, up 2.5%; August at 1.42 million TEU, up 7.3%; September at 1.45 million TEU, up 9%, and October at 1.53 million TEU, up 19.9% over unusually low numbers last year.
The first half of 2012 should total 7.3 million TEU, up 2% from the same period last year. The total for 2011 was 14.8 million TEU, up 0.4% from 2010’s 14.75 million TEU.
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.
Rate of housing starts declines in May
The pace of residential construction slowed in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 708,000, but single-family starts picked up the pace.
The mixed message from the Commerce Department’s residential construction report, released Tuesday morning, also includes this nugget of good news: The previous month of April was revised up — way up — from 711,000 to 744,000. This revision makes April 2012 the strongest month for total housing starts since October 2008.
Also, single-family housing starts in May increased to 516,000, up from 500,000 in April.
The rate of both the total housing starts and single-family starts increased on a year-over-year basis, up 28.5% and 26.1%.
However, the 708,000-pace offers the industry little to celebrate, as 700,000 is at the low end of most full-year forecasts for 2012.
Building permits in May were at a pace of 780,000 — up 7.9% from April, and up 25.0% from May 2011.
Spray foam earns green credentials
Gaco Western, a maker of spray foam insulation, announced GacoGreen 052/052N earned credentials as code-compliant in a multiple categories.
An evaluation report (ESR# 2478) from ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES), provided evidence that the half pound open cell spray-applied polyurethane foam meets the following code requirements:
• Installation without a prescriptive thermal barrier when exposed surfaces are coated with DC 315 Fireproof Paint at a rate of 13 dry mils (20 wet mils) in accordance with the coating manufacturer’s instructions and ESR# 2478.
• Installation without a prescriptive ignition barrier within attics or crawl spaces where entry is made only for service or maintenance when coated with DC 315 Intumescent Coating at a rate of 3 dry mils (4 wet mils) in accordance with the coating manufacturer’s instructions and ESR# 2478.
GacoGreen 052/052N Half Pound Open Cell Foam is a Class 1 fire rated foam and meets the requirements of ICC-ES AC377 Acceptance Criteria for Foam Plastic Insulation. This water-blown, spray-applied system cures to a semi-rigid very low-density foam that forms a completely sealed air barrier that guards against air infiltration for the life of the building. With one of the highest Aged R-Values available in the industry, GacoGreen 052/052N helps reduce energy consumption and provides a quieter environment, the company said.