Record monthly import numbers to continue as busy summer predicted

Aerial view of a cargo ship loaded in the Seattle harbor container terminal

Import volumes across the US reached 2.26 million TEU in April 2022, with near-record volumes expected to continue over the coming months.

According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, the sum represented a 3.6 per cent decline over March import volumes which totalled 2.34 million.

May results are yet to be released but are currently tracking at 2.31 million TEU, down 0.9 per cent year-on-year.

Strong results have been projected over the next few months as retailers work to meet continued high consumer demand and also protect themselves against potential disruptions at West Coast ports.

© National Retail Federation (NRF)

“We’re in for a busy summer at the ports,” said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold.

“Back-to-school supplies are already arriving, and holiday merchandise will be right behind them. And the big wild card is what will happen with West Coast labour negotiations with the current contract set to expire on July 1.

“We continue to encourage the parties to remain at the table until a deal is done, but some of the surge we’ve seen may be a safeguard against any problems that might arise.”

Imports from China are also expected to grow again as the lockdown in Shanghai has finally ended, said Ben Hackett, Founder of Hackett Associates.

“The anticipation is that the Chinese manufacturing and transportation sectors will quickly get back to normal,” he continued.

“China’s recovery will need the government’s support in order to get the supply chain functioning normally again to provide the input required by the manufacturing sector.”

Over the first six months of 2022, imports are expected to amount to 13.5 million, up 5.3 per cent year-on-year.

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