Wednesday, 25 November 2009

US box traffic looking up for 2010

The start of next year could see the first year-on-year increase in US container import volumes for 31 months, according to the Port Tracker report published by the National Retail Federation and Global Insight.
The report forecasts imports at the major US ports will reach 1.09m teu in November, down 11% year-on-year, 1.06m teu in December, the same as last year, and 1.03m teu in January, down 3%.
However, it said it expected February’s volumes to reach 973,800teu, which would represent a year-on-year increase of 16%.
“This could be the turnaround we’ve been waiting to see for a long time,” said NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “There’s not enough data yet to establish a clear trend, but we’re hopeful that this is a sign of recovery.”
Volumes in the second half of this year have marginally improved.
“The second half of 2009 has continued to see declines from 2008’s levels, but not as large as we saw during the first half of this year,” IHS Global Insight economist Paul Bingham said. "These ‘less bad’ numbers are evidence that the industry is seeing early signs of recovery."
In September, the most recent month actual numbers are available, the US ports surveyed handled 1.14m teu, down 3% compared to August and 16% from September 2008.
Volumes for the traditional peak, October, are expected to have hit 1.17m teu, down 15% on last year.
The US ports covered by Port Tracker are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the west coast; New York/New Jersey, Virginia, Charleston and Savannah on the east coast; and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

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