The US retail industry trade organization announces an import surge for retail goods through June of this year.
By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent
The National Retail Federation (NRF) announced that it anticipates retail goods imports to surge through June of this year.
“The import numbers we’re seeing reflect retailers’ expectations for consumer demand to the point that many factories in Asia that normally close for Chinese New Year this month are remaining open to keep up,” said Jonathan Gold, the vice president for supply chain and customs policy at NRF, in a statement. “Regardless of whether it’s in-store or on retailers’ websites, the record holiday season and numbers for 2020 show consumers are buying again and have been for a while.”
“This surge has been going on for months, and retailers are importing merchandise faster than ever,” Gold said.
According to the same press statement, retail sales during the November and December holiday season in 2020 hit a $789.4 billion record. That is up by 8.3 percent from the 2019 holiday season, with additional preliminary figures showing a total sale for all of 2020 is at 6.8 percent, year-over-year.
“As we continue to struggle with COVID-19 and the ups and downs in the economy, year-over-year increases in the flow of containerized goods have become dramatic,” said Ben Hackett, the founder of Hackett Associates — a consultancy retained by NRF to compile the Global Port Tracker report. “It is impressive that the cargo volumes handled by the ports remain as high as they are despite congestion at the docks and the spread of the coronavirus among workers throughout the supply chain.”
US ports covered by NRF Global Port Tracker show about 2.11 million TEU in December of 2020.
That was an increase of 0.2 percent from November and a 22.3 percent year-over-year increase. That brought the 2020 total to an apex of 22 million TEU, which is up by 1.9 percent from 2019’s 21.6 million TEU and 2018’s 21.8 million TEU.
NRF reports that January’s results aren’t available yet. However, projections place the month at 2.08 million, which is a 14.6 percent increase over the same month last year.
This would also make this January the busiest yet since the federation began tracking imports in 2002.
Projections looking forward to 2021 show a positive increase in imports, too.
Between January and June of 2021, NRF expects records each month for the first half of 0201 with an 11.5 million TEU forecast.
That’s a 22.1 percent increase from the same timeframe the year before, which saw a dramatic decline in imports through major terminals because of COVID-19.