US container imports likely to increase 5.9% in November
Import volume through major US container ports is expected to increase 5.9% in November despite the ravishes of Hurricane Sandy, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.
"While there was clearly a regional impact, at this point the storm is not expected to have a major effect on holiday sales numbers," said NRF vice president Mr. Jonathan Gold.
US ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.42 million Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) in September, the latest month for which real numbers are available. That was the same as August but 3.3% up on September 2011.
October was estimated at 1.46 million TEU, up 10.7% year on year with November forecast at 1.37 million TEU, up 5.9% and December forecast at 1.34 million TEU, up 9.4%. January is forecast at 1.39 million TEU, up 8.2% from January 2012; February at 1.22 million TEU, up 12% and March is expected to produce a throughput of 1.26 million TEU, up 1.6%.
August, September and October were the three busiest months of the year as retailers bring merchandise into the country for the holiday season, and volume for the three months combined was up 5.8% at 4.3 million TEU. While cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales, NRF is forecasting that holiday sales will increase 4.1% to USD 586.1 billion this year.
The first half of 2012 totalled 7.7 million TEU, up 2.9% from the same period last year. For the full year, 2012 is expected to total 16.1 million TEU, up 4.5% from 2011.