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Congestions at Retail Ports is Easing

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There’s good news for the nation’s wholesalers, manufacturers, and retailers. Imports at the nation’s congested container ports are expected to grow modestly during the first half of the year. However, continued high volumes will maintain the pressure created last year as the economy bounced back from the pandemic. This, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report just released by the NRF (National Retail Federation) and Hackett Associates.

We’re not going to see the dramatic growth in imports we saw this time last year, but the fact that volumes aren’t falling is a clear sign of continued consumer demand,” says NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold. “Last year set a new bar for imports, and the numbers remain high as consumers continue to spend despite COVID-19 and inflation. The slowdown in cargo growth will be welcome as the supply chain continues to try to adapt to these elevated volumes. Unfortunately, many experts expect ongoing disruptions throughout 2022 for a variety of reasons.”

Congestion remains on both coasts, and the Port of Los Angeles alone has around 40 ships πwaiting to dock, says Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett. “With Lunar New Year factory closings in Asia this month and the consequent drop in export production, North American terminals will have an opportunity to reduce existing congestion,” Hackett adds. “Nonetheless, backups cannot be erased quickly as long as terminals continue to face a lack of space brought on by the supply chain’s inability to efficiently transfer cargo out of the terminals to its end destinations. A shortage of equipment, worker availability, and storage space at distribution centers and warehouses across the country remains problematic, as does the export of empty containers back to Asia.”

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker are expected to handle 1.5% more than they did in the same time period last year.π

How to build a stronger and more sustainable supply chain will be addressed as retailers, industry experts, and technology innovators meet in June at Cleveland’s NRF Supply Chain 360 conference.

Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by Hackett Associates, provides historical data and forecasts for 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. The report is free to NRF retail members, and subscription information is available at NRF.com/PortTracker or by calling (202) 783-7971. Subscription information for non-members can be found at www.globalporttracker.com.

Ports stock photo by tcly/Shutterstock

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