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Imports are on the rise this month at major U.S. retail container ports, as merchants stock up on inventory for the holiday shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) Global Tracker report."November and December are the busiest time for holiday shopping, but this is the month for the behind-the-scenes supply chain work that ensures shoppers will find what they want, where they want it, when they want it," said Jonathan Gold, NRF's vice president for supply chain and customs policy, in a press release.September volume dipped to an estimated 1.64 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEU), but was still up 0.9 percent compared with September 2015. October is forecast at 1.65 million TEU, up 6 percent from last year.In August, ports covered by Global Tracker handled 1.71 million TEU, up 5 percent from July and up 1.7 percent from August 2015. August is the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. NRF is forecasting cargo volume for 2016 to total 18.6 million TEU, a 2.1 percent increase compared with cargo volume in 2015. Last year, total cargo volume rose 5.4 percent compared with 2014's volumes. Global Port Tracker is produced for NRF by consulting firm Hackett Associates.