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Inventory cuts to shrink port traffic 6%   

Washington -- Cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is now expected to decline 6% in 2008 compared with 2007, as merchants exert caution on inventory, according to today’s Port Tracker report.

Released by the National Retail Federation and researcher Global Insight, the report shows projected volume of total 15.5 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) for the year. The prior projection was 15.8 million TEUs.

In 2007 the ports received 16.5 million TEUs.

“Retailers are tightening up their inventories to reflect what they expect to be able to sell during the holiday season,” NRF vp for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “We still expect to see an increase in sales this year, but the economy is clearly challenging and our industry is trying to hit the balance point between supply and demand as closely as they can.”

Port Tracker covers the major U.S. ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland, Calif.; Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.; New York/New Jersey; Hampton Roads, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; and Houston.

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