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Congestion Low at Ports

Washington — Despite recent hurricanes, congestion levels are low and cargo is flowing smoothly at the nation's major retail container ports as merchants move into the peak shipping cycle for the annual holiday sales season, according to the October Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Global Insight.

The September Port Tracker report gave the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach and Oakland a medium congestion rating out of concern that Gulf Coast damage from Hurricane Katrina would require railroad rerouting that would slow down trains taking cargo away from other ports.

Despite extensive local damage in the Gulf, the impact of August's Hurricane Katrina and September's Hurricane Rita on the national rail system turned out to be relatively modest, according to the report. Consequently, LA/Long Beach and Oakland's congestion rating was back at low. The remaining ports covered by Port Tracker — Tacoma, Seattle, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah — were also ranked low, with none at medium or high.

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