National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates’ monthly Global Port Tracker report shows that, despite a fall-off from last year’s record-setting numbers, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to be at some of its highest levels ever during the next few months. “Retailers are importing less merchandise than last year but these are still some of the highest numbers we’ve ever seen,” commented NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold. “Carefully managing imports will balance out high inventory levels but consumers can still expect to see a deep and broad selection of products.”

According to the Global Port Tracker, U.S. ports in March handled 1.32 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU), which is down from February of this year and lower than the all-time record set last year in March after a flood of backlogged cargo made its way through West Coast ports following a near-shutdown over a contract dispute with dockworkers. One TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

Estimates for April are at 1.5 million TEU, May is forecasted at 1.57 million TEU, June at 1.56 million TEU, July at 1.61 million TEU, August at 1.62 million TEU, and September at 1.56 million TEU – all slightly lower than last year but still high. In fact, this year’s forecast peak of 1.62 million TEU in August would still be among the six highest months on record. And, overall, the first half of 2016 is expected to total 9 million TEU, up 1.4% from the same period in 2015, due to the strength of this past February’s surge in containerized cargo shipments.

Global Port Tracker covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Houston.

The continued brisk business in cargo imports is good for importers, in addition to the custom brokers and logistics service providers involved in supply chain.  Roanoke Underwriting is well positioned to assist you in securing the proper insurance solutions for your clients. We provide broad insurance coverage at competitive pricing and are available to facilitate the proposal process in putting together the right mix of policies for your client’s risk profile. For more information about our products, contact one of our specialists at 1.855.213.4545.