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July 3, 2023

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22 Journal of Commerce | July 3, 2023 Top Trans-Pacific Carriers and Ports Special Report in container import demand is ... at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand," which he said is being buoyed by low unemployment and rising pay. Even so, US retail sales growth is slowing to a crawl. Total sales by dollar value grew just 1.08% in March 2023, the lowest year-over-year growth rate in three years, according to the latest available data from the US Department of Commerce. The annual declines in volume will narrow to 7.8% in the third quarter, however, as shippers start to ramp up back-to-school and seasonal product ordering, the NRF said. "Cargo volume is lower than last year, but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise," Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the NRF, said in the statement. Many retailers are signaling ongoing caution about the outlook for consumer spending as their own forecasts are lagging actual sales. Indeed, Commerce Department data shows that retailers are sitting on the highest levels of merchandise relative to sales since 2020. Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, echoed that outlook at a June 13 cargo brief - ing. Seroka said the port is "poised for a stronger back half of the year," assuming a West Coast labor deal was reached, which occurred just a day later. The port's most recent forecast for its 2023-24 fiscal year that starts in July shows that total volumes will reach 9 million TEUs, up 5% from the current fiscal year. "We're seeing an uptick in ships bound for Los Angeles, which is an encouraging sign," Seroka said. "The increase in trans-Pacific vessels tells me that seasonal product flow is picking up." JOC email: twitter: @michael_angell Most US ports see double-digit Asia import declines through May Top 10 US ports by containerized imports from Asia, Jan.-May, in laden TEUs, with year-over-year change -32.2% -32.2% -25.0% -25.0% -30.8% -30.8% -26.1% -26.1% -6.1% -6.1% -33.3% -33.3% -28.5% -28.5% -27.2% -27.2% -28.1% -28.1% 20.4% 20.4% Los Angeles Los Angeles Long Beach NY-NJ Savannah Houston NSA Virginia Charleston Oakland Baltimore L L 0 500,000 1,000,000 1,500,000 2,000,000 2023 2022 862,413 1,000 Los Angeles Los Angeles Source: S&P Global © 2023 S&P Global US inventory-to-sales ratios reach highest levels since 2020 Ratio of end-of-month US retail, manufacturing, and wholesale inventories to monthly sales. A ratio of 2.5 indicates enough stock to cover 2.5 months of sales 2.0 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 L L Jul Jan 2023 Jul Jan 2022 Jul Jan 2021 Jul Jan 2020 Jan 2019 Retail Manufacturing Wholesale Manufacturing 1.48 Wholesale 1.4 Retail 1.3 Ret Mar, 2023 Jan 2023 1.8 .8 Source: US Census Bureau © 2023 S&P Global Trans-Pacific imports fall for ninth straight month in May 2023 Containerized US imports from Asia, in laden TEUs, with year-over-year change TEU volume 1,000,000 0 200,000 400,000 600,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,200,000 1,400,000 1,600,000 -40% -40% -30% -20% -10% 0% 10% 20% Year-over-year % change L Jul Jul Jan 2023 Oct Apr Jan 2022 Oct Apr TEUs Year-over-year % change Tra May, 2023 23 Apr 585,000 600,000 10% 20% TEU: 1.382M 30% -20% change -20% 20% 20% Year-over-year % change: : -22.1% Source: S&P Global © 2023 S&P Global "Cargo volume is lower than last year, but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year."

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