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            may 24, 2019

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US container trade forecast to dip in March


Major container ports in the US are expected to see volumes fall to their lowest level in one year in March, as the retail industry enters its traditional lull between seasons. That said, container throughput in the first half is expected to rise 4.8 per cent year on year to total 10.8 million TEU, according to a report by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.
"Now that the holiday season is over and summer has yet to crank up, this is the quiet time of year for retail supply chains," said NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold.
"Retailers are also taking a break from the rush to bring merchandise in ahead of tariff hikes now that the increase that was scheduled for March has been delayed," Mr Gold said, adding that imports will start to build up again once retailers gear up for the summer peak, reported World Maritime News, Rotterdam.
US ports handled 1.89 million TEU in January, representing a decrease of 3.7 per cent from the previous month following the end of the holiday season but up 7.4 per cent year on year.
February was estimated at 1.79 million TEU, up 6.2 per cent from February 2018. March is forecast at 1.59 million TEU, up 3.2 per cent year on year but the lowest level since 1.63 million TEU in April 2018.
Imports during 2018 reached a new record of 21.8 million TEU, an increase of 6.2 per cent over 2017's previous record of 20.5 million TEU. The first half of 2019 is expected to total 10.8 million TEU, up 4.8 per cent over the first half of 2018.
"The trade war with China is turning out not to have the results President Trump expected," Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. "Imports from China did not decline, in fact they soared to record levels."

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