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Retailers set import records ahead of planned and proposed tariffs

Published August 9, 2018

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — A new report shows that retailers — across all categories — are stocking up on Chinese consumer goods before the possibility of increased tariffs.

Imports at the nation's major retail container ports have set two new records this summer and are expected to set another this month, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

"Tariffs on most consumer products have yet to take effect but retailers appear to be getting prepared before that can happen," said Jonathan Gold, NRF's vice president for supply chain and customs policy. "We're seeing new record levels every month this summer. Much of that is to meet consumer demand as tax reform and a thriving economy drive retail sales, but part of it seems to be concern over what's to come."

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.85 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in June, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 1.6 percent from May and up 7.8 percent year-over-year. A TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

July was estimated at 1.88 million TEU, up 4.4 percent year-over-year. August is forecast at 1.91 million TEU, up 4.4 percent; September at 1.82 million TEU, up 2.1 percent; October at 1.88 million, up 4.9 percent; November at 1.81 million TEU, up 2.6 percent, and December at 1.79 million TEU, up 4 percent.

The June number set a new record for the number of containers imported during a single month, beating the previous record of 1.83 million TEU set in August 2017. The July estimate – which is subject to revision when the numbers become final – appeared to take the record higher and August should set yet another record.

Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the 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. 

 

Topics associated with this article: Trade/tariffs

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