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US retailers revise Q1 import fore lower
Source
American Shipper
Post Date
01/18/2022

US retailers have revised downward their projections for monthly import growth in the first two months of the year as ports and carriers continue to struggle with supply chain bottlenecks, but still fore near-record volumes into the spring.

The National Retail Federation (NRF), in its January Global Port Tracker (GPT) released Friday, cautioned that projecting import volumes for the first half of 2022 could be problematic deping on the movement of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Retailers said if US consumers cut back on sping for services in favor of online shopping, as they did in the early days of the pandemic, it could result in increased imports from Asia.

GPT, published by the NRF and Hackett Associates, said international supply chain bottlenecks — from Asian load ports to US receiving ports, to rail, trucking, and warehouse limitations — will likely remain a serious problem for at least the first half of the year.“We hope the tem will find a way to catch up, but there is much that remains to be done to clear out port backlogs and increase capacity throughout the supply chain,” said Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the NRF.

GPT projects US imports in January will increase 8.6 percent from January 2021, down from the 9 percent gain fore last month. February imports will rise 4.4 percent year over year, down from last month’s projection of a 7.3 percent increase, while March’s projection of a 3.3 percent year over year decline was unchanged. Many factories in Asia will close on Feb. 1 for the annual Lunar New Year holidays, so import volumes will likely decrease ning in mid-February through March, but return to positive growth in April as retailers and manufacturers restock their depleted inventories.

When the year- volumes are tabulated, they are likely to show that imports in 2021 increased 17.9 percent over the then-record import volumes of 2020, according to the report. The double-digit monthly increases recorded during much of 2021 are not sustainable, and the trans-Pacific has settled into single-digit year-over-year growth, according to Global Port Tracker.



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