Report: Retail container traffic to be up 9% in November

Washington, D.C. A report released Friday said that import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is continuing to wind down as the year comes to an end, but still is expected to be up 9% in November as compared with the same month last year.

According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, U.S. ports handled 1.34 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in September, the latest month for which actual numbers are available. That was down 6% from August but up 17% from September 2009. It was the tenth month in a row to show a year-over-year improvement. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent.

October was estimated at 1.29 million TEU, a 9% increase over last year. November is forecast at 1.19 million TEU, up 9% from last year, and December at 1.1 million TEU, up 1%.

“Retailers know shoppers still have the economy in mind, so they are being very mindful with inventory levels this year,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF VP supply chain and customs policy. “The cargo numbers show that retailers are expecting a much better holiday season than they have seen over the past two years, but the industry is still being cautious.”

January 2011 is forecast at 1.08 million TEU, up 7% from 2010. But February, traditionally the slowest month of the year, is forecast at 1.06 million TEU, down 5% from last year, and March is forecast at 1.04 million TEU, down 10%.

January 2011 is forecast at 1.08 million TEU, up 7% from 2010. But February, traditionally the slowest month of the year, is forecast at 1.06 million TEU, down 5% from last year, and March is forecast at 1.04 million TEU, down 10%.