Don't stop holding your breath, but 2006 is shaping up as another year where port congestion remains under control. That, at least, is the observation of the National Retail Federation and Global Insight. According to their recent Port Tracker newsletter, all U.S. ports are rated as low risks for congestion through July of this year. Cargo moved smoothly through the opening months of 2006, the traditional slow season for container shipments from Asia. West Coast ports experienced a 10-percent drop in volume in March, compared with the same period of 2005, and slower growth will likely continue through the first half of this year, NRF said. But all bets could be off as carriers enter the peak season for fall and Christmas merchandise, beginning in July. NRF remains concerned about the state of the U.S. rail system, as well as the ability of truckers to handle their end of international moves. Nevertheless, "we believe the industry should be able to repeat the overall success of the 2005 peak season and keep any terminal and network congestion that develops to a minimum through continued refinement to operations and vigilance," the report said.
Visit www.globalinsight.com and www.nrf.com.
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