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Rail News: Shippers

Retailers: Imports to set new record in July

Port of Savannah
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Imports at the nation's major retail container ports are expected to set a new record this month, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

The results are being driven by increasing consumer demand and rising retail sales, NRF and Hackett officials said in a press release.

Ports covered by the Global Port Tracker handled 1.82 million 20-foot-equivalent units (TEU) in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That represents an 11.6 percent increase from April, as the annual wave of summer merchandise began to arrive, and a 4.3 percent increase year over year.

June is estimated at 1.83 million TEU, up 6.8 percent year over year. July is forecast at 1.87 million TEU, up 3.8 percent; and August, at 1.91 million TEU, up 4.2 percent.

The June number tied the record of 1.83 million TEU imported during a single month set in August 2017; the forecast for July would break that record while August should set yet another record.

The record results for July are expected despite new tariffs on goods from China, NRF officials said.

"Retailers cannot easily or quickly change their global supply chains, so imports from China and elsewhere are expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future," said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold. "As tariffs begin to hit imported consumer goods or the parts and equipment needed to produce U.S. goods, these hidden taxes will mean higher prices for Americans rather than significant changes to international trade."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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