May 10, 2019
Retail imports rise ahead of higher tariffs

With retail sales rising and President Trump saying he plans to both increase and broaden tariffs on goods from China, imports at the nation’s major retail container ports are expected to see unusually high levels the remainder of this spring and through the summer, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Much of this is driven by consumer demand but retailers are likely to resume stocking up merchandise before new tariffs can take effect,” said Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy. “Tariff increases and new tariffs will mean higher costs for U.S. businesses, higher prices for American consumers and lost jobs for many American workers.”

The rush to bring merchandise into the country that was seen through much of last year slowed down after a tariff hike was postponed from January to March. U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker noted twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in March was down 0.6 percent from February, but up 4.4 percent year-over-year. A TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

April was estimated to be up by 7.7 percent year-over-year. May, June, July and August are also forecasted to have an increase according to the report. September is forecasted at 1.91 million TEU, up 2 percent. Imports have never before hit the 1.9 million TEU mark earlier than July. And the August number would be the highest monthly total since the record 2 million TEU record set in October 2018.




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