Grim outlook at US boxports

Los Angeles: After dropping 7.9% last year, cargo volume at the major retail container ports in the U.S. is expected to drop almost 12% in the first half of 2009, as global trade continues to dry up.

The latest version of the monthly Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and IHS Global Insight forecasts that container volume at U.S. retail ports for the first six months of 2009 is forecast at 6.6 million teu, down 11.8% from the 7.5 million teu seen during the same period in 2008.The forecast comes after an extremely weak peak shipping season at the nation’s ports according to the latest statistics. December was a particularly low month for container volumes at U.S. ports, when shipments were down 13.9% from November and 17.2% from December 2007, marking 18 straight months of year-over-year container volume declines.

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