After ending 2008 down 7.9 percent, total cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports, including operations in Tacoma, is expected to drop at an even faster pace during the first half of 2009 as the economic recession continues, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and IHS Global Insight.
Final data for 2008 showed volume for the year at 15.2 million 20-foot-equivalent units, or commonly referred to as cargo containers, compared with 16.5 million containers in 2007, a decline of 7.9 percent and the lowest total since 2004.
 
Volume for the first six months of 2009 is forecast at 6.6 million containers, down 11.8 percent from the 7.5 million containers seen during the same period in 2008.
 
“2008 was one of the most challenging years retailers have seen, and all indications are that 2009 won’t be any better,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy. “Unfortunately, cargo volume at the ports reflects retailers’ anticipated sales, and NRF expects that sales will get worse before they get better. Retailers are only going to import what they can sell.”

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