Retail imports expected to be up by 4.9% in first half of 2018

February 19, 2018

Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports are expected to grow a robust 4.9% during the first half of 2018, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released on February 8 by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“We’re forecasting significant sales growth this year and that means retailers will have to import more merchandise to meet consumer demand,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said, adding, “With the benefits of pro-growth tax reform coming on top of solid fundamentals like higher employment and improved confidence, we expect a good year ahead.”

The import projection comes a day after the NRF forecast that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8% and 4.4% over 2017’s $3.53 trillion.

Cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales because only the number of containers is counted—not the value of the cargo inside—but it still provides a barometer of retailers’ expectations.

Global Port Tracker covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Port of Virginia, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Jacksonville on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

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