Port Container Traffic Below 2006 Levels

September saw another month of declines in container traffic at North American ports. “The low volumes at the ports reflect retailers’ cautious expectations for sales during the holiday season,” says Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation. Ports surveyed handled 1.46 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) in September, down 1.9% from the same month in 2006. August also recorded a drop (off 1.4%) from the same month a year ago.

October is the traditional peak month for container traffic, and volumes are estimated to be about 3,300 containers short of the record high of 1.51 million TEUs set in October 2006.

While November is expected to be flat compared to last year’s volumes, December should see a 6.4% increase and it is predicted January will be up 5.9% over January 2007.

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