Container imports to the US will set a new record this month as retailers build up inventories in case labour disputes disrupt operations later in the year, according to a new report.
So far ports are operating as normal, but the failure of West Coast employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association to agree a new labour contract with the powerful International Longshore and Warehouse Union after the previous contract expired on July 1 is creating anxiety among shippers, said the latest Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“The negotiations appear to be going well, but each week that goes by makes the situation more critical as the holiday season approaches,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy.
“Retailers are making sure they are stocked up so shoppers won’t be affected regardless of what happens at the ports.”
The latest Global Port Tracker report forecasts import volumes will rise to 1.54 million TEU this month, the highest total since the NRF began tracking volumes in 2000 and up from the estimated 1.53 million boxes handled in July.
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