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US box volumes hit seven-year low in February, under 1m teu handled

US box volumes hit seven-year low in February, under 1m teu handled

Los Angeles: Import cargo volume at the nation's major retail container ports hit its lowest level in seven years in February as the number of containers dropped below 1 million for the first time in half a decade, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released April 15 by the National Retail Federation and IHS Global Insight.
U.S. ports surveyed handled only 847,832 TEU in February, the most recent month for which actual numbers are available. That was down 20.6 percent from January's 1.07 million TEU and 31.3 percent from February 2008's 1.23 million TEU.
February is traditionally the slowest month of the year, but the count this year was the lowest since 818,342 TEU in March 2002. It was the first time the total has fallen below the 1 million mark since February 2004 and marked the 20th month in a row with a year-over-year decline. The last year-over-year increase was in July 2007.
Numbers began climbing again in March and April, but the 1 million mark won't be seen again before May, and imports will continue to see significant declines compared with last year at least through the summer, said Port Tracker. [16/04/09]

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