Imports at the U.S.'s major retail container ports are expected to continue to grow this summer as retailers stock up inventory to get ahead of higher tariffs, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

The Trump administration increased 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent in May, with the increase applying to imports that arrive in the United States after June 15. The administration has also proposed to implement new 25 percent tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods and recently removed India and Turkey from the Generalized System of Preferences program, which allows certain items to be imported duty-free.

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.75 million TEUs in April, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 8.4 percent from March and up 6.9 percent year-over-year.

May was estimated at 1.88 million TEUs, up 3 percent year-over-year. June is forecast at 1.86 million TEUs, up 0.3 percent; July at 1.93 million TEUs, up 1.1 percent; August at 1.95 million TEUs, up 3.3 percent; September at 1.89 million TEUs, up 0.9 percent, and October at 1.95 million TEUs, down 4.4 percent. The August and October numbers would be the highest monthly totals since the 2 million TEUs record set last October as retailers rushed to bring merchandise into the country ahead of expected tariff increases.

The first half of 2019 is expected to total 10.6 million TEUs, up 3 percent over the first half of 2018.




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