With the world’s supply chain adjusting to the ongoing Houthi rebel attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, inbound cargo volume at the major U.S. container ports remains on track to show year-over-year increases through the first half of 2024, according to the Global Port Tracker’s report recently released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

“Retailers continue to work with their partners to mitigate the impact of disruptions from the Red Sea and Panama Canal restrictions,” commented Jonathan Gold, VP for Supply Chain and Customs Policy at the NRF. “Cargo has been rerouted, and goods are arriving where needed and in time to meet consumer demand despite the ongoing challenges. Retailers have been impacted by costs and shipping delays but are working to minimize any impact on consumers.”

“Barriers are avoiding the Red Sea, and the initial surge in shipping prices and delays is subsiding,” added Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett. “Some cargo that previously traveled from Asia via the Red Sea and Suez Canal across the Atlantic to the U.S. East Coast is now going around the Cape of Good Hope instead. There has been an uptick in cargo shipped across the Pacific to the West Coast. And some ships are traveling across the Pacific and through the Panama Canal to reach the East Coast.

Hackett continued, “Despite the shipping disruptions caused by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, the global trade of consumer goods, industrial materials and bulk commodities continues to flow relatively smoothly. Fear of an inflationary impact due to the raised cost of transportation should be alleviated by now. Retailers and their carrier partners are adjusting to the re-routings and new schedules, which add new costs, but those can be partially offset by not having to sail up the Red Sea and not having to pay Suez Canal transit costs; this will continue until there is a resolution and freedom of navigation through the Red Sea and Suez Canal.”