Containerized imports at all the major retail container ports in the U.S. are witnessing a surge in import volumes. The increase in container imports for the month of October is expected to be around 10 percent compared to last year. Large retailers in the country are in the process of closing their annual shipping cycle for holiday sales. The seasonal jump of nearly 10 percent has been reported in the Global Port Tracker report for this month, which is issued by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.
Some Bright News
NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said: "NRF's annual forecast says retailers should see solid growth during the holiday season this year and these cargo numbers back it up. Increased imports show that retailers have gauged the market and expect increased sales."
By the Numbers
The number of 20 ft. containers handled by the U.S. ports in August stood at 1.42 million. This represented an increase of 3.3 percent over the same month in 2011, and 6.7 percent over July 2012. The growth of import volumes was 8 percent over last year in the month of September, while the forecast for October is 9.9 percent over the same month last year. Just think where America would be at if it was not in a recession.
America is not Collapsing Outright
The three busiest months of the year for container imports at U.S. ports are in August, September, and October. These are the months when the nation's retailers import merchandise to meet the seasonal demand for the Christmas season. However, it is important to note that growth in import volumes does not necessarily mean an equivalent growth in year on year retail sales. According to the estimates of NRF, the sales volume during the holiday season is expected to stand at $586 billion this year, which is about 4.1 percent higher than last year. That is remarkable considering how many people are either out of work or are underemployed.
Keep on Trucking
The drop in monthly container import volumes will be seen from the month of November, but it is still expected to stay above the volumes during the same month last year. The forecast for November and December is 1.32 million and 1.28 million, respectively.
Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, said: "Inventories are up, which could be due to lack of demand but it could also be due to pre-stocking in anticipation of the dock strike that didn't come. Either way, it is within a narrow range of movement and it does not suggest that we are sliding into another recession." Ben may not be looking at the big picture or all the numbers. Either way, America should be on fire right now but it is not because of excessive regulations and burdensome taxes. There are many companies who are sitting on the sidelines until America gets on the right path.