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Growth at Retail Ports to Slow During First Half 2022

According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report, imports at the nation’s congested container ports are expected to slow during the first half of 2022. The report, released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, found that even with the slowed growth, high volumes will continue to keep pressure on ports. 

“We’re not going to see the dramatic growth in imports we saw this time last year, but the fact that volumes aren’t falling is a clear sign of continued consumer demand,” says NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “Last year set a new bar for imports, and the numbers remain high as consumers continue to spend despite COVID-19 and inflation. The slowdown in cargo growth will be welcome as the supply chain continues to try to adapt to these elevated volumes. Unfortunately, many experts expect ongoing disruptions throughout 2022 for a variety of reasons.”

Congestion remains at ports on both coasts, and the Port of Los Angeles alone has 40 ships waiting to dock, says Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett. U.S. ports are expected to handle 13 million twenty-foot equivalent units during the first half of 2022, up 1.5 percent over the same period of 2021. 

“With Lunar New Year factory closings in Asia this month and the consequent drop in export production, North American terminals will have an opportunity to reduce existing congestion,” Hackett says. “Nonetheless, backups cannot be erased quickly as long as terminals continue to face a lack of space brought on by the supply chain’s inability to efficiently transfer cargo out of the terminals to its end destinations. A shortage of equipment, worker availability and storage space at distribution centers and warehouses across the country remains problematic, as does the export of empty containers back to Asia.”

To learn ways to combat supply chain issues, click here.

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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