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Rail News: Intermodal

'Port Tracker' report: U.S. container volume dips in November; another drop expected in December


In November, cargo volume at major U.S. container ports declined on a year-over-year basis for the 16th-straight month, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) and IHS Global Insight’s monthly “Port Tracker” report.

Volume totaled an estimated 1.26 million 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs), down 8.5 percent compared with November 2007’s total. Through 11 months, volume remained on track to slink to its lowest annual total since 2004, the reports states.

Port Tracker projects volume will total 15.3 million TEUs by year’s end vs. 2007’s 16.5 million TEUs, representing a 7.1 percent year-over-year decline.

"As retailers face the most challenging holiday season in years, they are being careful with their inventory levels, and that means lower volume at the ports," said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in a prepared statement.

For December, Port Tracker forecasts volume at 1.22 million TEUs, representing a 5 percent drop from December 2007’s total. Volume then is expected to fall to 1.17 million TEUs in January, 1.11 million TEUs in February and 1.19 million TEUs in March before rising to 1.25 million TEUs in April.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/8/2008