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NRF Says Hanjin Shouldn’t Affect Peak Season Import Volume

Despite the wide-reaching effects Hanjin Shipping’s recent bankruptcy filing has had on supply chains, import cargo volumes should still reach near peak levels this month.

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Global Port Tracker report, major U.S. ports handled 0.7% more twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) this July than last, and an estimated 1.67 million TEUs were handled in August, a 0.4% dip from August 2015.

For September, ports are forecast to handle 1.62 million TEUs, a 0.2% drop year over year.

“Hanjin should not significantly affect volume for the month [of September] since alternative arrangements to unload those containers or shift cargo elsewhere should be dealt with by the time the numbers are tallied,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “But millions of dollars worth of merchandise is in limbo at the moment, and retailers are working hard to make sure it ends up on store shelves in time for the holidays.”

October should see a 5.3% jump on containers handled to 1.63 million TEUs, November’s numbers should be up 3.8% to 1.53 million and December up 3.6% to 1.49 million.

If those projections hold true, 2016 should handle 18.6 million TEUs, up nearly 2 percent from last year.

“Despite the apparent slowdown in economic activity being reported around the world, the volume of imports continues to grow slowly, much along the lines that we have been projecting,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said.