Import cargo volume at the nation's major retail container ports could show the first year-over-year increases in more than two years beginning in early 2010, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and IHS Global Insight.
"This could be the turnaround we've been waiting to see for a long time," says Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy. "There's not enough data yet to establish a clear trend, but we're hopeful that this is a sign of recovery."
While declines are predicted through January 2010, February is expected to break the 31-month string of year-over-year declines, with cargo forecast to total 973,872 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units). The figure is below the 1 million mark because February is the slowest month of the year, but would be a 16-percent increase over February 2009. March 2010 is forecast at 1.02 million, a 5-percent increase over March 2009.
The report now expects 2009 to end with a total volume of 12.7 million TEUs, a drop of 16.8 percent from last year's 15.2 million TEUs and the lowest since the 12.47 million TEUs imported in 2003.
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