Multiple consulting agencies are predicting a peak in retail activity this year in North America.
Despite a somewhat subdued third quarter in the transpacific container shipping market, freight forwarding companies are optimistic about the import trade outlook in the United States by the end of this year. One such company, GEODIS, the world’s tenth-largest freight forwarder, recently announced plans to hire nearly 3,000 seasonal workers for its business divisions in the United States and Canada to meet the expected surge in holiday season shipments.
GEODIS is actively bolstering its workforce to enhance the operational capacity of its warehouses and distribution centers in preparation for the upcoming holiday season, which typically spans from late November to early January in the United States. Currently, GEODIS employs over 17,000 people in North America.
Anthony Jordan, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for GEODIS Americas, stated, “Strengthening our workforce during the peak season allows us to deliver high-quality service to meet the expected demand.“In addition to freight forwarding companies, U.S. consulting agencies are also bullish about the holiday season in the American retail sector.
According to Insider Intelligence, retail sales during the 2022 U.S. holiday season increased by 4.8% year-over-year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. This year, it is projected that U.S. holiday season retail sales will grow by 4.5%, demonstrating a stable market performance.
Furthermore, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates jointly released the North American Port Tracker report, revealing that as North American retailers begin stockpiling for the holiday season, imports at major container ports reached a record high of 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in August, the highest in the past year. September is expected to maintain this level, with continued high imports into October.
The North American Port Tracker report covers ports such as the Los Angeles-Long Beach Port, Oakland Port, Seattle-Tacoma Port, Vancouver Port, Prince Rupert Port, Montreal Port, New York-New Jersey Port, Virginia Port, Charleston Port, Savannah Port, Jacksonville Port, Everglades Port, Miami Port, and Houston Port.
Jonathan Gold, Vice President of Supply Chain and Customs Policy at the National Retail Federation, commented, “Strong data signals that retailers are optimistic about the holiday season sales.” He emphasized that preparing for holiday season sales activities, such as stockpiling, is a top priority for all participants in the retail supply chain. The recent agreement on the labor-management contract at West Coast ports between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) provides further supply chain security for retailers importing goods through West Coast ports.