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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. ports' container volume drops in January and February, 'Port Tracker' says


In January, 10 surveyed U.S. ports handled 1.05 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), down 0.5 percent compared with December’s container volume, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) and IHS Global Insight’s monthly “Port Tracker” report.

The port’s traffic also fell 14.6 percent compared with January 2008’s total, marking the 19th-straight month volume declined on a year-over-year basis.

February volume at the 10 major container ports — which are located in California, Texas, Washington, New York/New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina — was estimated at 1 million TEUs, which would represent a 17.7 percent drop from February 2008’s level, according to Port Tracker.

"February is traditionally the slowest month of the year, so we're now at the point where we'll see a gradual increase in volume as retailers bring in spring and summer merchandise and build up toward the holiday season," said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in the report.

Port Tracker projects March volume at 1.07 million TEUs, which would represent a 5.3 percent increase from February’s level but a 7.4 percent decline from March 2008’s total. April is forecasted at 1.14 million TEUs, down 10.3 percent; May is projected at 1.16 million TEUs, down 11.4 percent; June is estimated at 1.19 million TEUs, down 8.6 percent; and July is forecasted at 1.21 million TEUs, down 7.5 percent year over year, the report states.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/9/2009