- Retail imports are expected to be lower at the beginning of the year than they have been over the past several months, according to a press release from the National Retail Federation (NRF).
- NRF is projecting 1.75 million TEUs for January, and 1.67 million TEUs in February. This is down from 1.81 million TEUs in November and an estimated 1.79 million in December.
- "With the holiday season behind us, the immediate pressure to stock up on merchandise has passed but retailers remain concerned about tariffs and their impact on the nation’s economy," NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement.
The United States and China spent much of 2018 tangled in a trade war in which they imposed tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's goods. This helped lead to those record numbers at the end of the year as retailers shipped their spring 2019 merchandise earlier to avoid potential tariffs, according to NRF.
These new projections come as China and the U.S. have wrapped up three days of trade talks. "Our industry is hoping the talks ... will bring an end to this ill-advised trade war and result in a more appropriate way of responding to China’s trade abuses that won’t force American consumers, workers and businesses to pay the price," Gold said in a statement.
NRF’s import forecast shows a low of 1.55 million TEUs in March for the U.S. before an uptick in April and May. This is a typical seasonal pattern, J. Craig Shearman, NRF’s Vice President for Government Affairs Public Relations, told Supply Chain Dive in an email.
"The slowest month is usually February since that’s the lull between holiday sales and spring/summer sales," Shearman said. "This year March is the slowest but that’s likely because of the timing of Lunar New Year, when Asian factories shut down for a couple of weeks.”