LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Imports at major U.S. container ports are leveling off after retailers’ months-long rush to bring in Chinese merchandise before higher tariffs hit, according to a retail trade report issued on Tuesday.
U.S. ports covered by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates’ Global Port Tracker handled 1.81 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in November, the latest available data. That was up 2.5 percent year-over-year but down 11.4 percent from the record of 2.04 million TEU set in October. A TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container.
The report landed as the United States and China hold talks aimed at ending a bitter trade war that is roiling global financial markets. U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in December to a 90-day truce on tariffs.
Warehouses throughout the United States are packed to the rafters with Chinese goods – ranging from air conditioners and microwaves to footwear and furniture.
“There have been record-high levels of imports over the past several months, primarily due to raised inventories ahead of expected tariff increases,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said.
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