August was estimated at 1.35 million TEU, a 17 percent increase over last year. September is forecast at 1.32 million TEU, up 16 percent from last year; October at 1.3 million TEU, up 9 percent; November at 1.2 million TEU, up 11 percent; and December at 1.11 million TEU, up 2 percent. January 2011 is forecast at 1.06 million TEU, down 2 percent from January 2010.
The first half of 2010 was estimated at 6.9 million TEU, up 17 percent from the same period last year. The full year is forecast at 14.5 million TEU, which would be up 15 percent from the 12.7 million TEU in 2009, which was the lowest since the 12.5 million TEU reported in 2003. The 2010 number remains below the 15.2 million TEU seen in 2008 and the peak of 16.5 million TEU seen in 2007.
While October is the traditional peak month of the annual shipping season as retailers bring in merchandise for the holiday season, July’s figures appear likely to stand as the peak for 2010. The shift was mostly due to backlogs built up due to the lack of shipping capacity earlier in the year after ship owners took vessels out of service during the recession.
“There is sufficient evidence to suggest that importers anticipated the peak season and bought early, partly as a result of a fear of lack of capacity and containers but also as a means to avoid the hefty peak season surcharges announced by all the carriers,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. “We remain cautious about growth over the next 12 months. The good news is that the influx of new capacity will continue to put downward pressure on freight rates.”
Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Long Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast. The report is free to NRF retail members, and subscription information is available at www.nrf.com/PortTracker or by calling (202) 783-7971. Subscription information for non-members can be found at www.globalportracker.com .
As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. In the United States, NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2009 sales of $2.3 trillion.