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Imports at major U.S. retail container ports are expected to log double-digit year-over-year declines this spring and summer, as the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, according to a Global Port Tracker report released last week by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.
"Factories in China are largely back online and stores that closed here in the United States are starting to reopen, but volume is far lower than what we would see in a normal year," said NRF Vice President Jonathan Gold in a press release. "Shoppers will come back and there is still a need for essential items, but the economic recovery will be gradual and retailers will adjust the amount of merchandise they import to meet demand."
U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.37 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in March. That was the lowest volume since 1.34 million TEUs in March 2016, down 9.1 percent compared with February's levels and down 14.8 percent year over year.