Continuing Port Issues Leads to Record Retail Imports, Toy Industry Reaction

nrfImport cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to slow down this month following record levels seen in September and October, as retailers rushed to bring merchandise into the country ahead of a possible shutdown of West Coast ports, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

Import volume at U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report is expected to total 1.4 million containers this month, down from 1.59 million each in September and October, a number that broke the previous monthly high of 1.52 million set in August. Cargo volume has been well above average each month since spring as retailers have imported merchandise early in case of any disruption on the docks.

The 1.59 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU, or 20-foot cargo container) handled in September, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available, was up 5.2 percent from August and 10.9 percent from September 2013. October was estimated at 1.59 million TEU, within about 3,000 containers of September’s level and up 11 percent from the same month last year.

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is inviting members to participate in a teleconference with Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, to learn about what is being done to alleviate back-ups and delays at the port. The discussion is scheduled for November 13 at 1 p.m. ET. TIA members can contact Rebecca Mond, director of federal governmental affairs, at rmond@toyassociation.org for dial-in information.

Above-Average Retail Imports as Longshoremen’s Negotiations Continue

The import of retail merchandise remains above average as negotiations continue between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.

In a report released September 9 by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, 1.47 million containers are expected to pass through U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report this month. September has averaged 1.42 million containers for the past five years.

Concerns grew among retailers as the West Coast longshoremen’s contract remained unsettled after its expiration on July 1, which prompted an early import of back-to-school and holiday goods in preparation for a potential disruption on the docks. August saw an all-time monthly record of 1.53 million containers because of these precautions. [Read more...]

Record Imports Expected as West Coast Port Talks Continue

nrfImport volume at major U.S. container ports is expected to hit an all-time record in August as retailers concerned about the lack of a West Coast longshoremen’s contract rush to bring holiday season merchandise into the country, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

Import volume at U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report is expected to total 1.54 million containers this month, which is the highest monthly volume since NRF began tracking import volume in 2000. It tops a previous record of 1.53 million set in July, as well as unusually high numbers seen this spring as retailers began importing merchandise early in anticipation of this summer’s contract talks.

The contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired on July 1. Dockworkers remain on the job as both sides continue to negotiate a new agreement.

West Coast Ports Negotiations Resume as Cargo Shifts East

The shipping news journal Lloyd’s List reports that the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have resumed contract negotiations following a three-day hiatus last week. In the meantime, retailers are bringing holiday merchandise into the country at record levels to protect against potential supply chain disruptions, according to the Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

Import volume at major U.S. container ports is expected to total 1.5 million containers this month, the highest monthly volume in at least five years. This follows a trend of unusually high import levels that began this spring as retailers worked to import merchandise ahead of potential problems.

The contract between the PMA and the ILWU expired on July 1. Dockworkers remain on the job as both sides continue to negotiate a new agreement. [Read more...]

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.

[Read more...]