Imported Apparel and Its Impact

Imported Apparel and Its Impact

From attire to accessories, the right combination of textile, color, and pattern allows us to express our personalities, ambitions, and, most importantly, our sense of style. In New York City, the largest retail market in the country, the desire to shop is fueling a growing apparel market, accounting for more than $15 billion in annual sales.

While going to a favorite store to search for a particular item may be easy to do, it is the result of a long, concentrated process—and the Port of New York and New Jersey plays a pivotal role in this process. More than 900 fashion companies are headquartered in New York, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, but their products are often produced overseas and shipped throughout the world. When ships arrive at our marine terminals, the apparel is transferred to truck or rail before being sorted at warehouses and distribution centers and eventually delivered to retail stores across the country.

Apparel is the sixth most imported commodity at the Port of New York and New Jersey accounting for 3.2 percent of total imports (117,272 TEUs) in 2018. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the rise in demand for apparel has major positive economic impacts nationally as well. The American Apparel and Footwear Association asserts that the U.S. apparel and footwear industry contributed $400.2 billion in retail sales in 2018 to the U.S economy.

Recent improvements at the Port of New York and New Jersey are helping to accommodate rising apparel demands by ensuring that all freight arriving at our marine terminals is transferred from ship to rail or truck quickly and efficiently. The raising of the Bayonne Bridge allows larger container ships (up to 18,000 TEUs) to enter our port. In addition, the expansion of the ExpressRail system, and the opening of a fourth ExpressRail terminal at Port Jersey, help transport cargo to a growing number of destinations in the Midwest, New England, and Canada.

Three countries account for more than half of the apparel imported at the Port of New York and New Jersey:

  • China—31.1 percent (36, 499 TEUs)
  • Vietnam—10.8 percent (12,619 TEUs)
  • India—10.6 percent (12,478 TEUs)

The most in demand imported apparel goods are:

  • Sweaters, pullovers of knit/cotton—12.4 percent (14,501 TEUs)
  • Sweaters, pullovers of manmade fibers—10.1 percent (11,836 TEUs)
  • T-shirts, singlets, tank tops, etc. – 8.5 percent (9,662 TEUs)