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Rail News: Shippers

Retailers anticipate record growth in imports for 2021

Imports for 2021 are expected to total 26 million TEUs, up 18.3% over last year.
Photo – Port of Oakland


Imports arriving at the nation's major retail ports are expected to end the year with the largest volume and fastest growth on record, despite supply-chain disruptions brought on by the pandemic, according to the Global Port Traffic report released yesterday by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Retail imports for 2021 are expected to total 26 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), up 18.3% over last year and the highest number since NRF began tracking imports in 2002. The projected total would top last year's previous record of22 million, a 1.9% increase. The growth rate would also be the highest on record, topping the previous record of 16.7% in 2010, when the economy was recovering from the Great Recession, NRF officials said in a press release.

"This has been an unprecedented year," said NRF VP for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold. "We've seen more disruption than ever before because of issues along every step of the supply chain and continued strong consumer demand, but we’re also seeing more cargo and faster growth than ever before."

Although total import growth has hit double digits, single-month year-over-year growth has stayed in the single digits and is expected to stay that way through first-quarter 2022, NRF officials said.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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