Despite The Epidemic: U.S. Box Imports Still Set A Record In 2020

- Jan 12, 2021-

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According to the latest monthly global port tracking report of the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett associates, despite the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. container imports seem to be moving towards a new annual record in 2020 and will remain high at the beginning of 2021.

Jonathan gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at NRF, said: "last spring, no one would have thought that 2020 would be a record year for imports, but it's obviously an unpredictable year."

"In the face of unprecedented challenges, consumers and retailers have once again proved their resilience. To a certain extent, due to the stimulation of the government, even in the case of a pandemic, retail sales also showed a strong growth in 2020, and import data showed that retailers expected the economic recovery to continue in 2021. "

Due to the high import volume in the past few months, ships carrying goods from Asia have experienced particularly severe stoppage at ports on the west coast of the United States, resulting in a shortage of capacity and equipment (including chassis and empty containers).

Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett associates, said: "with the accelerated spread of cowid-19 across the country, in addition to port congestion, the epidemic has also caused logistics problems." "As a large number of people are infected with the virus and unable to report to work, the supply chain may face the challenge of finding enough people to distribute goods."

According to global port tracker, the throughput of US ports in November was 2.11 million TEU. The figure was 24.5% higher than a year earlier, but 4.9% lower than the 2.21 million TEU in October. The container throughput in October was the largest in a single month since the NRF began tracking imports in 2002. A TEU is a 20 foot container or equivalent.

It is estimated to be 2.02 million TEU in December, a year-on-year decrease of 17.3%, but it is still only one of the six times that the monthly total has reached 2 million TEU in the past 20 years. Once the actual data is available, if the December figure remains unchanged, there will be 21.9 million TEU in 2020, an increase of 1.5% over last year, breaking the annual record of 21.8 million TEU set in 2018.

The two organizations pointed out that imports in the second half of 2020 set a series of new records, including an all-time record of 8.3 million TEU in the "peak season" from July to October. Retailers compete to import goods during winter holidays every year.

It is expected to reach 1.96 million TEU in January, a year-on-year increase of 7.7%, which is the busiest month in history; 1.6 million TEU in February, a year-on-year increase of 6.1%, and 1.64 million TEU in March, an increase of 19% compared with March 2020.

It is expected to reach 1.76 million TEU in April, a year-on-year increase of 9.6%, and 1.86 million TEU in May, a year-on-year increase of 21.7%.

Global port tracker, produced by Hackett associates for NRF, provides historical data and forecasts for the ports of Los Angeles / Long Beach, Auckland, Seattle and Tacoma on the west coast of the United States; New York / New Jersey, port Virginia, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, the east coast of Miami and Jacksonville, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

The American Retail Federation claims to be the largest retail trade association in the world. Retail industry is the largest private sector employer in the United States, contributing $3.9 trillion to the GDP of the United States every year, supporting a quarter of the employment opportunities in the United States.

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