Imports at the nation's largest container ports are expected to remain flat through July before picking up when the annual peak season for holiday shipments begins later this summer, the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates said in their monthly Global Port Tracker report.
"With rising gas prices and challenges in the labor and housing markets, consumer spending has slowed and retailers have adjusted their inventory levels accordingly," said Jonathan Gold, the NRF's vice president for supply chain and customs policy. "We are confident long-term consumer demand will grow, and that imports will pick up significantly in the fall."
The ports handled 1.22 million 20-foot-equivalent units in April, the latest month for which numbers are available. That was up 12 percent from the previous month and 7 percent year-to-year. It was the 17th straight month of year-to-year growth after December 2009 broke a 28-month streak of declines.
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