Cargo volume for 2016 is expected to see a 1.6% increase over last year, as consumers wrap up back-to-school shopping and retailers begin to stock shelves for the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the retail trade association National Retail Federation and maritime research and informational services firm Hackett Associates.
“Shoppers are right in the middle of buying back-to-school products, but the retail supply chain is already preparing for the holiday season,” said NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “August is the peak month of the annual shipping season that builds up to the winter holidays, and a lot of the merchandise consumers will be buying this fall is already showing up at the docks.”
Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said much of the recent upturn in the U.S. economy is attributable to consumers, noting that the 5.1% increase in year-over-year retail sales in June, as calculated by NRF, was nearly twice the 2.6% increase in average hourly wages seen the same month.
“In these stressed times, with uncertainty abounding amid an unusual presidential election and other issues, consumers have decided it is time to hit the stores and stock up on goods,” Hackett said.
Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.
[Image courtesy of National Retail Federation]