NRF: Imports Expected To Slow At The Start Of 2020

Imports at the nation’s major cargo ports are expected to see one more boost in November before falling off in December and into the New Year, according to the National Retail Federation.

In the monthly Global Port Tracker from the NRF and Hackett Associates, U.S. ports handled 1.87 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in September, up 0.2% year-over-year. A TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

October was estimated at 1.93 million, down 5.2% from last year’s record 2 million TEU. November is forecast at 1.96 million TEU, up 8.3% year-over-year.

However, imports are expected to fall to 1.78 million TEU in December, down 9.2% from near-record numbers last year. The expected drop from November will come as December’s tariffs take effect, NRF officials said.

January 2020 is forecast at 1.85 million TEU, down 2.3% from January 2019. February— traditionally the slowest month of the year because of Lunar New Year factory shutdowns in Asia— is forecast at 1.59 million TEU, down 2.1% from a year ago. March is forecast at 1.76 million TEU, up an unusually high 9.1% because of fluctuations in the Lunar New Year calendar.