EYECARE: Coronavirus BRIEFING: The Latest COVID-19 Data Retail Import Growth Levels Out But Volume Remains High, NRF Says By Staff Thursday, January 13, 2022 11:03 AM WASHINGTON—After a year of unprecedented increases, imports at the nation’s major retail container ports are expected to return to normal growth rates in 2022 but volumes will remain high, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released last week by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. “Even with the holiday season behind us, supply chain challenges continue,” NRF vice president for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “The huge increases in imports we’ve seen have leveled out, but volume is still at high levels. We hope the system will find a way to catch up, but there is much that remains to be done to clear out port backlogs and increase capacity throughout the supply chain. Amid all of this, the omicron variant is a wild card that could not only impact the supply chain workforce but once again drive more imports if consumers stay home and spend their money on retail goods rather than going out,” Gold said.Imports saw year-over-year growth as high as 65 percent in some months during 2021. That was the result of increased consumer demand, retailers’ efforts to stock up to mitigate supply chain challenges, and comparisons against periods early in 2020 when many stores were closed because of the pandemic. But increases returned to single digits by last fall and should remain there this year. Nonetheless, volumes of about 2.2 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units or more expected during most months in the first half of 2022 will be near-records. A TEU is one 20-foot container or its equivalent. Those numbers would bring 2021 to a total of 25.9 million TEU, a 17.9 percent increase over 2020’s record high of 22 million TEU that was set despite the pandemic. Click here to read the full story from the National Retail Federation.