Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nervous U.S. Importers Stock-Up Early

(International Freighting Weekly – Mike King)

U.S. container imports are falling ahead of next month’s traditional peak shipping season, as a result of retailers’ attempts to avoid shipping surcharges and concerns over consumer confidence. Import volumes in July were up 25% on last year, at 1.38m teu, but are predicted to gradually contract, according to the latest Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said: “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 to avoid the hefty peak season surcharges announced by all the carriers. 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.”

However, volumes in the coming months are still predicted to show significant growth, compared with 2009 equivalents. Read more here.