Imports at the U.S.’ s major retail container ports will remain at high levels this summer but are expected to grow only modestly compared with last year’s rush to bring merchandise into the country ahead of scheduled tariff increases, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.85 million TEUs in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 6 percent from April and up 1.4 percent year-over-year.
June was estimated at 1.87 million TEUs, up only 0.8 percent year-over-year. July is forecast at 1.93 million TEUs, up 1.3 percent; August at 1.96 million TEUs, up 3.4 percent; September at 1.89 million TEUs, up 1.1 percent; October at 1.94 million TEUs, down 4.5 percent, and November at 1.88 million TEUs, up 4.3 percent.
The August number would equal the total seen last December just ahead of a scheduled January 1 tariff increase that was ultimately delayed until this spring, and would be second only to the 2 million TEUs record set last October. But the small year-over-year increases expected in the next few months compare with double-digit growth in multiple months last year as retailers rushed to import Chinese merchandise ahead of expected tariff increases.