Port volume could recover in early 2010, analysts say

| 11/24/2009

Port analysts are optimistic that container volume will see growth in early 2010 after 31 straight months of year-over-year declines.

In its monthly Port Tracker report, the National Retail Federation announced that although ports saw a 16 percent decline in container volume in September compared with the same month in 2008, the trend could be reversed as soon as February 2010.

“This could be the turnaround we’ve been waiting to see for a long time,” National Retail Federation Vice President Jonathan Gold stated. “There’s not enough data yet to establish a clear trend, but we’re hopeful that this is a sign of recovery.”

With a month to go before year’s end, the same analysts are predicting that overall container volume will be down 16.8 percent over 2008.

“The second half of 2009 has continued to see declines from 2008’s levels, but not as large as we saw during the first half of this year,” IHS Global Insight Economist Paul Bingham stated.

Truckers who haul in and out of the nation’s ports stand to get more loads as a recovery takes shape, but these same truckers are also faced with waves of emissions regulations.

Restrictions imposed during periods of economic downturn can be tough to grasp considering the rating of “low congestion” at several major ports tracked by the National Retail Foundation.

Making that list were Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah and Houston.

– By David Tanner, staff writer