Port Tracker report expects October volumes to see 2.6 percent annual gain

Report states that October should represent the highest level of the year as retailers stock up for the holiday season
By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
October 19, 2011 - LM Editorial

Even though a true 2011 Peak Season did not live up to once-promising expectations, import cargo volumes at major United States-based container ports are expected to see a 2.6 percent annual increase in October, according to the monthly Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

The report stated that October should represent the highest level of the year as retailers stock up for the holiday season. The ports surveyed in the report include: Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Tacoma, Seattle, Houston, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, and Savannah.

According to the report, total volume for 2011 is expected to come in at 15 million TEU (Twenty-foot equivalent units), which is down slightly from last month’s 15.4 million TEU estimate. The 15 million TEU estimate would be a 1.8 percent gain over 2010. In 2010, imports hit 14.7 million TEU, which was up 16 percent compared to a dismal 2009. The 12.7 million TEU shipped in 2009 was the lowest annual tally since 2003. 

“After a summer of trying to compare apples to oranges, retail cargo is back to normal,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement. “October is the historic peak of the shipping cycle each year, and retailers are bringing merchandise into the country on their usual schedule and at normal levels again instead of being forced to move cargo early. Retailers are poised to succeed in maintaining the careful balance between inventory and sales that keeps customers happy while keeping retailers profitable.”

In an interview with LM, Ben Hackett, president of Hackett Associates said that despite evidence of some growth, “the Peak Season is gone, never came and is not here” with flattish trade activity. Hackett defines Peak Season as typically running from mid-or late-July through late September.

And unlike a year ago when shippers were leery of tight capacity and brought merchandise into the U.S. well ahead of the traditional Peak Season timeframe, the same activity did not repeat itself a year later, based on the abundant supply of ocean capacity, coupled with less-than-needed demand to fill those vessels.

“A lot of capacity has been taken out for the season already,” said Hackett. “We are seeing more being removed on the Transpacific especially. The hope is that volumes pick up in the next year, with a lot of continued capacity reduction ongoing in the next two months or so.

But that is not a sure thing, considering the cautious buying habits of consumers during this ongoing period of economic uncertainty. The NRF is forecasting a 2.8 percent increase in holiday retail sales in November and December.

Hackett said this estimate remains realistic at this point.

The Port Tracker said August, the most recent month for which data is available, came in at 1.32 million TEU, which matched July and was down 7 percent compared to August 2010. September is estimated at 1.37 million TEU for a 2.7 percent annual increase. October is pegged at 1.39 million TEU for a 2.6 percent gain while resuming its role as the busiest month of the year. November is forecasted at 1.28 million TEU for a 4 percent increase. And December, January, and February are pegged at 1.18 million TEU (a 2.7 percent gain), 1.16 million TEU (a 3.6 percent decrease), and 1.1 million TEU, a 3.8 percent decrease.

September to come in at 1.5 million TEU for an 11.8 percent annual increase. October is expected to reach 1.48 million TEU for a 9.5 percent increase. November is projected to hit 1.33 million TEU for an 8 percent increase. December is expected to hit 1.2 million TEU for a 4.5 percent increase, and January is pegged at 1.19 million TEU for a 1 percent decrease.



About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Lyon, France-based Norbert Dentressangle, a $5.5 billion global third-party logistics (3PL) services provider focused on global logistics, transport, ocean, and air services, said today it has acquired Des Moines, Iowa-based Jacobson Companies, a value-added warehousing (VAW) company, for $750 million from private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners.

Download the newly released research report, "Transportation Management Systems" conducted by Peerless Research Group (PRG) on behalf of Supply Chain Management Review and Logistics Management magazines. Learn what logistic experts are saying about their current supply chain technology infrastructures, how they tackle the transportation component, and revealed the gaps that still need to be filled in order to attain end to-end visibility of a streamlined supply chain.

From cost center to growth center. Get insightful opinions on changes in the marketplace from this independent survey of warehouse personnel. Motorola Solutions examined the current warehousing marketplace in our 2013 Warehouse Vision Report, conducted April-May of 2013.

Even though not all publicly-traded less-than-truckload carriers (LTL) have posted second quarter earnings yet, the early consensus for those that have issued results is looking very good.

The advance estimate for second quarter GDP at 4.0 percent could serve as a sign of a steadier and improving economy.

Article Topics

News · Global Trade · Port Tracker · Ocean Shipping · TEU · All topics

About the Author

Jeff Berman, News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA