Report: Retail Container Traffic to Increase 10 Percent in May

According to the latest monthly Global Port Tracker report, released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to be up 10 percent in May, and double-digit increases are expected moving into the fall.

In March, the latest month for which actual numbers are available, U.S. ports handled 1.07 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU), a 7-percent increase compared to February, and a 12-percent increase compared to March 2009. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent. March was also the fourth month in a row to show a year-over-year improvement.

Although actual numbers are not yet available, April was estimated at 1.11 million TEU, a 12-percent increase over last year. May is forecast at 1.14 million TEU, up 10 percent from last year; June at 1.19 million TEU, up 17 percent; July at 1.25 million TEU, up 13 percent; August at 1.32 million TEU, up 14 percent; and September at 1.35 million TEU, up 19 percent.

The report attributes the large year-over-year percent increases to unusually low numbers last year. The first half of 2010 is expected to total 6.6 million TEU, an increase of 12 percent compared to last year.