Monthly import cargo to hit highest level since 2022

Jun 13, 2024
Written by WR Communications

This summer, the volume of inbound cargo at major U.S. container ports is set to reach its highest levels in nearly two years, according to the Global Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates. The surge, anticipated over the next seven months, reflects strong consumer spending and retailers’ efforts to stock up for peak shipping season.

“Consumers are spending more than last year, driving retailers to meet demand,” said NRF’s Jonathan Gold. However, overseas port congestion poses challenges, impacting operations and shipping rates. Ben Hackett of Hackett Associates noted that the prolonged peak season, extending beyond traditional months, is partly due to retailers restocking post-pandemic, preparing for new tariffs on Chinese goods, and ensuring ample holiday inventories.

In April, U.S. ports handled 2.02 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU), a 13.2% increase year-over-year and the highest since October 2022. Projections for May indicate a rise to 2.09 million TEU, with further increases expected in the coming months. The first half of 2024 is projected to total 12.1 million TEU, up 15% from last year.

NRF forecasts a 2.5% to 3.5% growth in 2024 retail sales, excluding auto dealers, gas stations, and restaurants. The Global Port Tracker report, available to NRF members, offers detailed data on key U.S. ports, assisting retailers in navigating economic conditions.


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