Container traffic growth slows through major US ports
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Traffic at major retail container ports in the US will continue over the next several months to reflect the slowdown in the nation's economy with weak or negative growth compared with last year, according to Global Insight's monthly Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation.

"Container traffic at the ports mirrors what retailers expect to sell in their stores, and the retail industry is expecting only modest growth this year," NRF vice president Jonathan Gold.

Ports surveyed handled 1.24 million TEU in January, the most recent month for which actual numbers are available. The number was down 3.5 per cent from December's 1.28 million TEU, and 4.3 per cent down from January 2007. February was estimated at 1.18 million TEU, down 9.6 per cent from February 2007, and will be the seventh month in a row to show a year-to-year decline. March is forecast at 1.27 million TEU, unchanged from last year; April at 1.35 million TEU, up 1.8 per cent from April 2007; May at 1.37 million TEU, up 0.7 per cent from May 2007; June at 1.4 million TEU, down 3.6 per cent; and July at 1.45 million TEU, up 0.2 per cent.

Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah and Houston are covered by the Port Tracker report.