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8/21/2009



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Port Tracker report: Major ports remain on pace to handle fewest containers in seven years


After another weak month in June, import cargo volume at the nation's major container ports is projected to total 12.3 million units by year’s end, which would represent an 18.8 percent drop from 2008’s volume and the lowest level in seven years, according to the monthly Port Tracker report recently released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and IHS Global Insight.

In June, surveyed ports handled 1.01 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), down 2 percent from May’s level and 22 percent from June 2008’s volume — marking the 24th-straight month with a year-over-year decline.

“The good news is that we're expecting to move from double-digit declines into the single digits by the end of the year,” said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in a prepared statement.

Volume for July is estimated at 1.06 million TEUs, while Port Tracker forecasts August and September volume at 1.09 million TEUs and 1.08 million TEUs, respectively. Volume in all three months would represent a 20 percent year-over-year decline.

Port Tracker
also projects October volume to fall 18 percent to 1.12 million TEUs, November volume to tumble 15 percent to 1.05 million TEUs and December volume to decrease 3.8 percent to 1.02 million TEUs.


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