Imports Remains Strong At U.S. Ports

imports, retail, Import, National Retail Federation

Imports continue rolling in through the largest U.S. container ports as consumer demand for goods including kitchenware remains strong.

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) monthly Global Tracker Report, ports handled 2.15 million TEU in April, an increase of 33.4% over April of 2020, which was the height of the pandemic’s first wave. 

The April figures are slightly below March’s results when 2.27 million TEU of goods moved through U.S. ports.


A TEU is equivalent to a 20-foot container. 

“Vaccine rates are increasing, shoppers are back in stores and retail supply chains are working overtime,” said Jonathan Gold, vice president for Supply Chain and Customs Policy for the NRF. “There’s no shortage of demand from consumers, but there continue to be shortages of labor, equipment and shipping capacity to meet that demand.”

While the flow of products from overseas remains strong, Gold noted that issues such as supply chain disruptions, port congestion and rising shipping costs could remain challenges for imports through the end of the year.

“Supply chains are finding it difficult to keep up with demand as shipping capacity struggles,” said Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, which teams with the NRF on the Global Tracker Report. “A number of vessels taken out of service when volumes were low remain in drydock while others are delayed in congested ports, which face a lack of manpower both because of COVID-19 illnesses and the tight labor market.”