WAUKESHA — The
upcoming tariffs created by the Trump administration have caused
concern and uncertainty among leaders in several industries, which
includes retailers, which in turn has led to a significant increase
in the importation of goods.
According to the
Global Port Tracker report, imports at the nation’s major retail
container ports have set two new records this summer and are
expected to set another this month. The report was released Thursday
by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates Ports
covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.85 million twenty-foot
equivalent units in June, the latest month for which after-the-fact
numbers are available, which is an increase of 1.6 percent from May
and up 7.8 percent year-over-year. A TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo
container or its equivalent.
“Tariffs on most
consumer products have yet to take effect but retailers appear to be
getting prepared before that can happen,” NRF Vice President for
Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement.
“We’re seeing new record levels every month this summer. Much of
that is to meet consumer demand as tax reform and a thriving economy
drive retail sales, but part of it seems to be concern over what’s
to come. The good news for consumers is that avoiding tariffs holds
off price increases that will inevitably come if the reckless and
misguided trade war is allowed to continue.”
According to the
report, July was estimated at 1.88 million TEU, up 4.4 percent
year-over-year. August is forecast at 1.91 million TEU, up 4.4
percent; September at 1.82 million TEU, up 2.1 percent; October at
1.88 million, up 4.9 percent; November at 1.81 million TEU, up 2.6
percent, and December at 1.79 million TEU, up 4 percent.
Tracker has only marginally downgraded imports for 2018 but we
expect to see a larger downturn going into 2019 resulting from the
trade war as well as an anticipated slowing of the economy,” Hackett
Associates Founder Ben Hackett said in a statement. “The volatility
and non-fact-based decisions coming from Washington have created
The June number
set a new record for the number of containers imported during a
single month, according to the Thursday report, topping the previous
record of 1.83 million TEU set in August 2017.