Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports set a new record this spring and are expected to see near-record volume this month as retailers bring in merchandise ahead of rising costs and further supply chain issues, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report.
To meet consumer demand and get ahead of rising prices, retailers are importing record of amounts of merchandise. The savings in stocking up before inflation drives higher prices can help decrease potential disruptions from West Coast port labor negotiation which began this week. The current contract expires July 1.
U.S. ports covered by in the report handled 2.34 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units—one 20-foot container or its equivalent—in March, the latest month for which final numbers are available. The numbers were up 10.8 percent from February and up 3.2 percent year over year, topping the previous record of 2.33 million TEU set in May 2021 for the number of containers imported in a single month since the tracking imports began in 2002.
Consumer spending has been growing faster than income growth, potentially due to shoppers buying ahead of expected rising prices.