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Rail News: Shippers

NRF: September retail imports strong despite Hanjin's troubles


Import cargo volume at the nation's major retail container ports should be at near-peak levels this month, as retailers figure out how to deal with the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping Co., the National Retail Federation (NRF) announced late last week.

The Hanjin Shipping Co.'s bankruptcy should not significantly impact volume for September, since alternative arrangements made to unload containers and shift cargo should be dealt with by the time September's numbers are tallied, said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in a press release.

"But millions of dollars worth of merchandise is in limbo at the moment, and retailers are working hard to make sure it ends up on store shelves in time for the holidays," Gold said.

Ports covered by the Global Port Tracker handled 1.63 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in July, up 3.2 percent from June and up 0.7 percent from July 2015. July is the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available, according to NRF.

August was estimated at at 1.67 million TEU, down 0.4 percent from last year, and is expected to have been the busiest month of the annual shipping-cycle buildup to the holiday shopping season. September is forecast at 1.62 million TEU, down 0.2 percent from last year.

Global Port Tracker is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates. It covers U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Houston.

"Despite the apparent slowdown in economic activity being reported around the world, the volume of imports continues to grow slowly, much along the lines that we have been projecting," said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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