Imports at major U.S. retail container ports are expected to remain significantly below last year’s levels into this fall as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“Economic indicators show that the recession brought on by the pandemic may be easing, but retailers are being conservative with the amount of merchandise they import this year. The outlook for imports is slowly improving, but these are still some of the lowest numbers seen in many years.
U.S. imports are performing like a yo-yo, up one month and down the next with no apparent cause that can realistically point to either a crashing or booming economy,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “We’re starting to go out to eat and buy clothing again, but how sustainable is that? The danger is that the rising number of virus infections is leading to renewed restrictions, which may cause demand to weaken again.”