The volume of cargo coming into the major US ports can be measure of how retailers are faring because so much merchandise these days is sourced overseas.
In a recent report from the National Retail Federation, cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to decline 6% in 2008 compared with last year as retailers carefully manage their inventories. The NRF and Global Insight release a monthly report called Port Tracker which looks at inbound container volume and other factors affecting cargo movement and congestion.
Cargo volume each month this year has been below the same month last year, and is expected to continue to be below last year’s levels in each remaining month, according to the report. Year-over-year increases previously expected in October and December are no longer anticipated as retailers tighten up their inventories for the holidays.