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Rail News: Intermodal

NRF: Major ports set import record in October

The October figure was the highest for a single month since Global Port Tracker began counting cargo in 2000.
Photo – Port of Savannah


Major U.S. container ports set a new monthly imports record in October, logging 2.04 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The October container volume was up 9 percent from September's level and 13.6 percent year over year, according to the NRF's Global Port Tracker report released last week by the NRF and Hackett Associates.

The record was set as retailers continued to bring merchandise into the country ahead of a now-postponed increase in tariffs on goods from China, NRF officials said.

"President Trump has declared a temporary truce in the trade war, but these imports came in before that announcement was made," said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold.

NRF officials hope the temporary "stand-down" becomes permanent, Gold said.

"But in the meantime, there has been a rush to bring merchandise in before existing tariffs go up or new ones can be imposed," he said. "China's abuses of trade policy need to be addressed, but tariffs that drive up prices for American families and costs for U.S. businesses are not the answer."

The October figure was the highest for a single month since Global Port Tracker began counting cargo in 2000, topping the previous record of 1.9 million TEUs set in July, which in turn had beat a record of 1.83 million TEUs set in August 2017.

While cargo numbers do not correlate directly with sales, the import surge also is being driven by this year's strong retail sales, NRF officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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