US monthly import cargo set to hit highest level this summer since 2022

on Jun 18, 2024
  • June 2024 is set to have one of the highest import counts for the US since 2022.
  • The data came from the National Retail Federation recently, as well as Hackett Associates.
  • This month's are forecast to rise as high as 2.11 million TEU, up 15.2% year over year.

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Monthly inbound cargo volume at the nation’s major container ports is expected to reach its highest level in nearly two years this summer.

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A recent report by NRF and Hackett Associates looked at international ports’ tracking data, on how many imports each was experiencing (named Global Port Tracker).

Ports in the US covered by Global Port Tracker handled 2.02 million TEU (TEU meaning one 20-foot container or its equivalent) in April 2024, the latest month for which the numbers are available.

Source: National Retail Federation

This figure is up 4.6% from March and up 13.2% year-over-year, and was the highest number since 2.06 million TEU last October.

Ports have not yet reported May’s numbers, but Global Port Tracker projected that volume rose to 2.09 million TEU, up 8.3% year over year for the highest level since 2.26 million in August 2022.

Moreover, this month’s imports are anticipated to total the highest the US have seen in nearly two years.

June 2024’s numbers are forecast to rise as high as 2.11 million TEU, up 15.2% year over year.

A seven-month winning streak predicted

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This is set to be just the beginning of a hot summer for US imports.

July is forecast to see imports climb to 2.1 million TEU, up 9.5%; while August 2024 imports are expected to be up 10.6% at 2.17 million TEU.

In fact, the anticipated seven-month-long run of import levels above 2 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units will, if realized, be a level reached only twice since October 2022.

Why are US imports figures important?

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Rising imports for a country is usually a bullish sign for an economy, as it means that consumer spending has likely increased and will, in wholesalers’ and retailers’ opinions, continue to increase further.

Jonathan Gold, Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy at NRF, said:

Consumers are continuing to spend more than last year, and retailers are stocking up to meet demand, especially as we head into peak shipping season. The high level of imports expected over the next several months is an encouraging sign that retailers are confident in strong sales throughout the remainder of the year.

However, Gold did note that US retailers are also experiencing supply chain challenges again, this time with congestion at overseas ports, which are affecting operations and shipping rates.

Wells Fargo forecast

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It’s important to note that not everyone agrees on the US’ sunny prospects for the next seven months.

On Friday 14th last week, a note sent out to clients by Wells Fargo’s economists, believes that the growth experienced in the first half of the year is plateauing, and that the US will likely experience a more modest pace of growth for the rest of 2024.

Cargo USA USD Economic Retail