Retail freight is expected to hit a record in August as traders move from school days to vacation prep



“Strong consumer demand has overtaken supply chain operations since late last year and could remain a challenge as the holidays approach.”

NRF Vice President Jonathan Gold

WASHINGTON – Imports in the country’s largest retail container ports are set to hit another record in August as consumer demand continues to stretch supply chains and retailers shift from the back-to-school season to the peak winter holiday item shipping season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by published by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“School supplies have been hit by the same supply chain disruptions and port congestion that hit other products this year, but retailers are working hard to ensure school and college supplies are where they need to be,” said NRF -Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy, said Jonathan Gold. “Strong consumer demand has overtaken supply chain operations since late last year and could remain a challenge as the holidays approach. The continuing shortage of manpower, equipment and capacity has highlighted systemic problems and the need to create a true 21st century supply chain to ensure resilience to the next major disruption. The passage of infrastructure laws currently pending in Congress is an important step in this direction. We need a continuous focus of the administration in order to tackle these problems as well. “

“The pressures of continued economic expansion are putting significant pressure on the logistics supply chain,” said Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates. “We are seeing a lack of shipping capacity coupled with congestion in ports as ships queue up to unload goods from both Asia and Europe. The delays extend to the land side as port terminals struggle with space constraints and labor challenges hit ports, railways and freight forwarders alike. This part of the recovery is not a pretty sight. “

US ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 2.15 million twenty-foot equivalent units in June, the last month for which final figures are available. That was 7.8 percent less than in May, but 33.7 percent more than last year, when many stores were closed due to the pandemic. A TEU is a 20-foot container or its equivalent.

The ports have not yet reported any numbers for July, but Global Port Tracker forecast the month at 2.22 million TEU, which is 15.7 percent more than at the same time last year.

August is forecast at 2.37 million TEU, an increase of 12.6 percent over the previous year and the peak of 2.33 million TEU in May for the largest number of containers in a single month since import tracking began Imported by the NRF in 2002 was “high season” when retailers stock up on Christmas items every year. Many retailers are increasing their shipments this year as part of their risk mitigation strategies to ensure there is sufficient inventory available during the holidays.

September is forecast at 2.21 million TEU, an increase of 4.9 percent compared to the previous year; October with 2.15 million TEU, 3 percent less than in the previous year since July 2020; November with 2.07 million TEU, minus 1.5 percent, and December with 2.02 million TEU, minus 4.1 percent.

The first half of 2021 amounted to 12.8 million TEU, 35.6 percent more than in the same period of the previous year. For the year as a whole, 2021 is well on the way to achieving a total of 25.9 million TEU, an increase of 17.5 percent compared to 2020 and a new annual record of 22 million in the previous year. Despite the pandemic, freight imports rose by 1.9 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

Global Port Tracker, produced by Hackett Associates for NRF, provides historical data and forecasts for the US ports of Los Angeles / Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the west coast; New York / New Jersey, Port of Virginia, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Jacksonville on the east coast and Houston on the Gulf coast. The report is free to NRF retail members, and subscription information is available at or by calling (202) 783-7971. Subscription information for non-members can be found at

About NRF
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail association, is passionate about the people, brands, policies, and ideas that make retailers a success. From its headquarters in Washington, DC, NRF powers the industries that drive the economy. Retail is the largest private employer in the country, contributing $ 3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four jobs in the US – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and retail job by educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retailing has on local communities and the global economy.

About Hackett Associates
Hackett Associates provides expert advice, research and advisory services to the international maritime industry, government agencies and international institutions.



Leave A Reply