Pexels Containers

Following updated forecasts that changed from an anticipated spike in May to declines throughout much of the year, the latest Global Port Tracker from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates indicates continued declines of imports shipped to U.S. retail container ports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Factories in China are largely back online and stores that closed here in the U.S. are starting to reopen, but volume is far lower than what we would see in a normal year,” says NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold. “Shoppers will come back and there is still a need for essential items, but the economic recovery will be gradual and retailers will adjust the amount of merchandise they import to meet demand.”

Import numbers at U.S. container ports are available through March, which was down 9.1% from February and logged the lowest volume since March 2016. Imports were down 14.8% during the first quarter when compared to last year.

“Our view is that second-quarter economic growth will be significantly worse than the previous quarter, but we continue to expect recovery to come in the second half of the year, especially the fourth quarter and into 2021,” says Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett. “This is based on the big and somewhat tenuous assumption that there is no second wave of the virus.”

Current NRF forecasts predict a 13.4% decline for last month, a 20.4% drop this month, an 18.6% decrease for next month, followed by a 19.3% drop in July, a 12% decline in August, and a 9.3% dip in September.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.