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Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 7.3 percent this month compared with July 2014, as retailers stock up on inventory for the back-to-school season, the National Retail Federation (NRF) announced yesterday.Now that the West Coast ports have recovered from congestion caused by a recently settled contract dispute between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, retailers are stocking up for the upcoming season, said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in a press release.Ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report handled 1.61 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in May, up 6.2 percent from April and 8.2 percent from May 2014.“U.S. consumer spending recorded its largest increase in nearly six years in May, suggesting that the level of confidence about the future has improved,” said Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, which produces the Global Port Tracker report with the NRF.June is estimated at 1.56 million TEUs, up 5.5 percent year over year. July is forecasted at 1.6 million TEUs, up 7.3 percent, according to the report. The first half of 2015 was estimated at 8.8 million TEUs, up 6.4 percent over the same period last year.
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