WASHINGTON - Import cargo volume at the nation's major retail container ports is expected to be up 16 percent in September over the same month last year, but 2010 has already hit its peak and numbers will decline through the remainder of the year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
"Retailers have stocked up early on much of their holiday merchandise in order to avoid some of the supply chain disruptions seen earlier in the year," NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. "Cargo is still coming in, but the key question for sales will be what happens with employment and other factors that affect consumer confidence this fall. Retailers are hoping they've hit the right balance of supply and demand."
There is sufficient evidence to suggest that importers anticipated the peak season and bought early, partly as a result of a fear of lack of capacity and containers but also as a means to avoid the hefty peak season surcharges announced by all carriers," Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. "We remain cautious about growth over the next 12 months. The good news is that the influx of new capacity will continue to put downward pressure on freight rates."