Retail imports to hit record numbers this summer despite tariff debate

walking on escalators in retail mall

June 7, 2018 - “Despite an environment where the U.S. administration is enacting measures that could well lead to a trade war with most of its Asian and European trading partners, we see imports continuing to grow,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said, noting that manufacturers have seen increased orders that reflect solid consumer demand. “This suggests that neither industry nor consumers really believe that President Trump will push through with his proposed tariffs. Let’s hope that they are right.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.63 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in April, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 5.8 percent from March and up 0.3 percent year-over-year. A TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

May was estimated at 1.77 million TEU, up 1.3 percent year-over-year. June is forecast at 1.78 million TEU, up 3.7 percent; July at 1.88 million TEU, up 4.1 percent; August at 1.91 million TEU, up 4 percent; September at 1.83 million TEU, up 2.3 percent; and October at 1.9 million, up 5.7 percent.

The numbers forecast for July, August and October would each beat the previous record of 1.83 million TEU imported during a single month, which was set in August 2017. The first half of 2018 is expected to total 10.2 million TEU, an increase of 3.8 percent over the first half of 2017. The total for 2017 was 20.5 million TEU, up 7.6 percent from 2016’s previous record of 19.1 million TEU.

Source: American Journal of Transportation