Retailers are making their mark on the shipping industry this spring
A recent report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) evidences an expected surge in retail imports at the onset of spring. The NRF module known as the Global Port Tracker, in conjunction with Hackett Associates, is a trusted resource of data as it relates to national ports, shipping, and (by default) the industrial packing and crating industry as well. When they state that ports can expect a definitive lift in retail imports you can take it to the bank, especially if you are a retailer.
Those businesses dependent upon retail cargo movement have just come off of the expected downtime of the post holiday season of 2013. An anticipated import increase of over 12% in the month of March alone is a welcome sign of a turn in the profitable direction. The reason for this lift is predominantly seasonal, as retailers prepare to bring in product for the spring and summer waves of shoppers. In addition, consumer confidence in both the U.S. and Canada has shown marked levels of increase, adding to the boost in early spring retail imports. This movement is however met with a bit of a challenge for shipping companies and port cities.
The downtime from the preceding season has resulted in congestion at ports. Because there has been less work related to shipping in the slower import weeks of late winter there is currently a shortage of labor and mechanical materials used in the scope of port business. Harsh winter weather has also been a factor causing the congestion of parked ships and cargo loaded containers, especially on the east coast of North America. Even shipping labor strikes such as found at the west coast port of Greater Vancouver has backed up cargo as importers await access to their landed goods. These shipments have been sitting idle while vessels en route will continue to arrive with more and more. A local (Vancouver) motorcycle importer (for resell purposes) is quoted “This backup at the port, and the subsequent charges for keeping my recent shipment in the container right here just meters from my business, has now doubled my cost of shipping a bike from Spain. I now have to pass a portion of the cost onto the customer”.
Unique scenarios such as labor strikes aside these port cities are moving fast to relieve the congestion as equipment and workers arrive to receive the load of retailer-ready cargo. All in all it’s an exciting time for North American ports as the bustle returns to the sea front operations. Industrial packing and crating businesses such as Cratex Group are busy preparing cargo for safe and secure overseas shipping so that retailers receive the products quickly and efficiently to meet the growing consumer demand.
If you are in need of packing and crating services for your business or organization please feel free to contact Cratex Group anytime.