As retail sales slowly begin their upswing, import cargo volume is likely to climb as well. In the month of March, many major retailers have reported growing revenues in comparisons to last year.  As import cargo is expected to grow as much as 8% in comparison to last April, similar trends are projected to carry throughout the summer season.  


Retail sales are starting to improve and retailers are importing merchandise in the quantities they need to meet that demand, said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold. We expect these numbers to continue to climb as merchants and their customers move away from the recession and back toward normal shopping habits.


Accordingly, U.S. ports handled 1.01 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in February, the latest month for which actual numbers are available. Although down 6% from January, shipping hit its traditional slow point for the year but climbed 20% from the drastically low numbers seen in February 2009. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.


March was estimated at 1.02 million TEU, a 6% increase over last year.  In similar fashion, April is forecast at 1.07 million TEU, an 8% surge leading to an expectant 10% climb for the first half of 2010. 


Potentially one of the best determining factors in relation to the state of the economy, cargo volumes are likely going to escalate.