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NRF: Retail imports to see final tariff-driven surge of 2019

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.87 million 20-foot- equivalent units (TEUs) in September.
Photo – Port of Savannah


Imports at the nation's major retail container ports are expected to log their final surge of 2019 this month ahead of new tariffs set to take effect in December, the National Retail Federation (NRF) officials announced late last week.

NRF will host a news conference tomorrow where officials from the Port of Los Angeles and other groups will discuss the impact of the trade war.

President Donald Trump announced tentative agreement on a partial trade deal with China last month, but officials are still working on the details and have not announced a date or location for the measure to be signed.

An October tariff increase was canceled and news reports last week indicated that some tariffs could be removed, but there has been no word on a new round of tariffs on consumer goods currently scheduled to take effect Dec. 15, NRF officials said in a press release.

“Retailers are highly competitive, but the ability to compete has been challenging this year because of the uncertainty of the trade war and continued tariff escalation,” said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold. “We are eager to see concrete evidence that the trade war is coming to an end with a final deal that removes all tariffs.”

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.87 million 20-foot- equivalent units (TEUs) in September. That was up 0.2 percent year-over-year, but was down 4.7 percent from August, when imports were at the second-highest level on record — 1.97 million TEUs — ahead of tariffs that took effect Sept. 1.

The first half of 2019 totaled 10.5 million TEUs, up 2.1 percent over the first half of 2018, and 2019 is expected to see a new annual record of 22 million TEUs. That would be up 1 percent from last year’s previous record of 21.8 million TEUs.

Global Port Tracker is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates. It covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Port of Virginia, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Jacksonville on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/11/2019