- Imports at major container ports in the U.S. should continue to slow from records set earlier this year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
- Although there are still supply chain challenges, “the majority of holiday merchandise is already on hand and retailers are well prepared to meet demand,” Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy said in a statement.
- U.S. ports handled a record number of 20-foot containers or their equivalent in May, but volume has mostly seen a steady decline since that time. The report forecasts that volumes will be down year over year from October through March of next year.
The NRF’s report forecasts a slowdown in imports as retailers gear up for a busy holiday season. The report notes that the waning demand in imports comes as once-hot pandemic demand cools.
“Cargo levels that historically peak in the fall peaked in the spring this year as retailers concerned about port congestion, port and rail labor negotiations and other supply chain issues stocked up far in advance of the holidays,” Gold said in a statement.
This fall, many retailers scrambled to clear out inventory and used markdowns as a way to drop products prior to the critical holiday period.
The NRF’s previous analysis pointed to a slowdown in imports before the holiday season began. In October, the NRF report initially predicted a 9.4% dip in units at U.S. ports, but that estimate was later revised to an 8.5% drop from last year.
Earlier this month, the NRF predicted that U.S. retail sales will rise in November and December between 6% and 8% compared to last year. E-commerce and other non-store sales are projected to increase between 10% and 12% to $262.8 billion and $267.6 billion, an increase from $238.9 billion in 2021.