Keeping in line with its previous edition, the new Port Tracker report, which was issued this week by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates, the theme of lower retail container import volumes, for the end of 2022 and into 2023, remained fully intact. The ports surveyed in the report include: Los Angeles/Long Beach; Oakland; Tacoma; Seattle; Houston; New York/New Jersey; Hampton Roads; Charleston, and Savannah; Miami; Jacksonville; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Port Everglades.
Authors of the report explained that cargo import numbers do not correlate directly with retail sales or employment because they count only the number of cargo containers brought into the country, not the value of the merchandise inside them, adding that the amount of merchandise imported provides a rough barometer of retailers’ expectations.
“Ports have been stretched to their limits and beyond but are getting a break as consumer demand moderates amid continued inflation and high interest rates,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement. “Consumers are still spending and volumes remain high, but we’re not seeing the congestion at the docks and ships waiting to unload that were widespread this time a year ago. It’s good to escape some of the pressure, but it’s important to use this time to address supply chain challenges that still need to be resolved like finalizing the West Coast port labor contract.