Container traffic sets a record pace

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Traffic has increased so much at U.S. retail container ports that June 2006 was busier than the fall 2005 peak, with record traffic expected to continue into the fall. That’s the view from the August Port Tracker report, issued by the research firm Global Insight on behalf of the National Retail Federation. Port, truck and rail systems have operated sufficiently so far, the report noted.

Traffic is measured in Twenty-foot Equivalent Units, each of which represents a 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent. June, the most recent month for which actual numbers are available, recorded just above 2005’s peak of 1.37 million TEU, set in October. Monthly numbers are expected to stay well above the 2005 peak during summer and fall, with a traditional decrease expected after October.

August is expected to see nearly 10 percent more traffic than the previous August, with close to 8 percent more traffic expected for September and an almost 7 percent increase forecast for October.