According to a recent report by the National Retail Federation and Global Insight, cargo volume at U.S. major retail container ports is expected to decline 6.5% in 2008 compared to 2007, hitting the lowest total in three years.
Total volume is projected at 15.43 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEU) for the year, compared with 16.5 million TEU in 2007, the lowest total since 15.4 million TEU moved through the ports in 2005.
“This has clearly been a difficult year and we still have a challenging holiday season ahead of us,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF vp for Supply Chain and Customs Policy. “Retailers are being careful to import only as much merchandise as they think they can sell.”
Port Tracker’s congestion rating for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is rated “medium” due to new regulations that require trucking companies seeking to do business at the ports to obtain special concession licenses. All other U.S. ports covered by Port Tracker are rated “low” for congestion.
“Uncertainties remaining for implementation of the Clean Trucks Program at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are causing concerns,” Global Insight economist Paul Bingham said. “Weak import demand has relieved pressure on port capacity but doubts remain about whether enough trucks will be available.”