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Port Tracker: Container traffic down 4% for 2008  

Washington – Container shipping into the United States is expected to drop by 4% this year, according to a study by Global Insight conducted for the National Retail Federation.

The Port Tracker report shows that cargo volume to the nation’s ports each month in 2008 has been below the corresponding month in 2007. Volume for the year is projected at 15.8 million Twenty-Foot-Equivalent Units, down from 16.5 million TEU last year.

The silver lining, noted Jonathan Gold, NRF vp for supply chain and customs policy, is the volume drop shows the results of retailers’ efforts “to keep inventory as tight as possible in order to keep supply and demand in balance.” Gold pointed out, “If merchants can avoid having excess merchandise on hand it means they can avoid the need for unplanned markdowns to clear their shelves, especially after the holiday season.”

The U.S. ports covered by Port Tracker are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

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