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Rail News: Intermodal

Retail federation: Imports surge ahead of more tariffs

In August, imports at the Port of Los Angeles rose 4.1 percent year over year to 437,613 TEUs.
Photo – Port of Los Angeles


Imports at major U.S. ports reached "unusually high numbers" just prior to new tariffs on goods from China that took effect Sept. 1, the National Retail Federation (NRF) announced earlier this week.

Imports are expected to surge again before another round of tariffs take effect in December, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released Sept. 10 by the NRF and Hackett Associates.

"Retailers are still trying to minimize the impact of the trade war on consumers by bringing in as much merchandise as they can before each new round of tariffs takes effect and drives up prices," said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in a press release.

New 15 percent tariffs on a wide range of consumer goods from China took effect this month and are slated to be expanded to additional goods on Dec. 15, covering a total of about $300 billion worth of imports, NRF officials said.

In addition, 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion worth of imports imposed over the past year was set to increase to 30 percent on Oct. 1. However, President Trump yesterday announced on Twitter that the tariff increase would be postponed until Oct. 15.

"The upcoming October talks with China are an opportunity to put a stop to this [tariff] escalation, repeal the tariffs that have been imposed and focus on growing the economy," Gold said.

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.96 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in July, up 9.1 percent from June and 2.9 percent from July 2018. In August, the ports logged an estimated 1.93 million TEUs, up 1.8 percent year over year.

The NRF and Hackett Associates forecast September volume at 1.85 million TEUs, which would be a 0.7 percent drop from September 2018’s mark. October is projected at 1.92 million TEUs, down 5.5 percent; November at 1.97 million TEUs, up 8.8 percent; and December at 1.77 million TEUs, down 9.8 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/13/2019