Import cargo volume at major US retail container ports has returned to normal levels following ratification of a new West Coast labor agreement, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.52 million TUEs in April, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available.
That was down 12.4 percent from March, when numbers were driven up by a surge of backlogged cargo after the labor dispute ended, but up 6.1 percent from April 2014.
May was estimated at 1.56 million TEU, up 5 percent from 2014. June is forecast at 1.52 million TEU, up 2.6 percent; July at 1.57 million TEU, up 4.9 percent; August also at 1.57 million TEU, up 3.3 percent; September at 1.6 million TEU, up 0.6 percent, and October at 1.59 million TEU, up 1.8 percent.
The first half of 2015 is forecast at 8.8 million TEU, an increase of 5.4 percent over the same period last year.
Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said a ”stubbornly high” inventory-to-sales ratio after last year’s rush to bring in adequate stocks of merchandise will couple with other economic factors to affect cargo volumes through the summer.
”The West Coast recovery remains sluggish and the East Coast is not managing to hold on to the growth levels it has experienced over the past few months,” Hackett said.
”June is going to be a mixed month for the West Coast with volatility between the ports, but July and August are projected to see growth across the board. On the East Coast, we are projecting growth for most ports.”