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Imports reaching record volume in U.S. in August; 2017 totals projected to hit record high

Imports are increasing at U.S. retail container ports, as August is expected to end as the busiest month for imports on record. This is according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report published by the National Retail Federation (NRF), a national advocacy group based in Washington.

Total ports handled 1.69 million TEUs in June, which is nearly 8 percent higher from a year ago. Driving the numbers up are both the Port of Oakland and the Port of Virginia. Both recorded record import container volumes — The highest single month in the Oakland port’s history and a record boost for Virginia compared to the previous year.

The imports are resulting from increased retail sales, says NRF. Total year-to-year retail sales have climbed upward since November 2009. Likewise, total retail employment has increased by 1.5 million jobs during the same time period.

“Retailers are selling more and that means they need to import more. These latest numbers are a good sign of what retailers expect in terms of consumer demand over the next few months,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy.

Indeed, the NRF expects imports to remain at record levels throughout the year. August is expected to end with 1.75 million TEUs in import volume, a 6 percent boost from the previous year and the highest monthly volume recorded since NRF began tracking imports in 2000. Overall, the NRF projects that 2017 will end with a total of 19.7 million TEUs, well past last year’s record of 18.8 million TEUs in import volume.

The NRF Global Port Tracker covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Houston.

 

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