Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Long Beach Port Volumes Continue Rise, Los Angeles Totals Up But Imports Slide

The three month cargo volume rally that began at the Port of Long Beach in December continued in March, lending further credence to analysts predicting the increases are the first signs of a general long-term cargo recovery. Strong gains in total box volume and total export volumes were reported at both the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports in March, though import box volumes at Los Angeles returned to the negative column after jumping into the positive during February for the first time in over a year.

The Port of Long Beach handled 422,774 TEUs in March, a 13 percent increase over March 2009. Total loaded outbound box volume also increased, moving up 10.9 percent to 130,495 TEUs for the month compared to the year-ago period. Total loaded outbound boxes also increased a similar amount, up 10.8 percent for March to 206,652 TEUs compared to the same period last year.

For the first three months of the year, the port is up 13 percent in total box volume compared to the January to March period in 2009.

Officials across the bay at the Port of Los Angeles reported that 550,250 TEUs moved across the port's wharves in March, an increase of 4.5 percent over the same period last year. Total loaded outbound box volume also jumped 15.8 percent to 161,817 TEUs compared to the year-ago period. Total loaded inbound box volume, however, fell 2.9 percent to 269,634 TEUs compared to March 2009. This marks 18 of the past 19 months that the Los Angeles port has recorded declining total inbound box volumes, with only February 2010 showing an increase.

So far this year, total volume at the port is up 8 percent compared to the first three months of 2009.

Economic and port experts have argued that the upturn in cargo volumes at the two ports could either suggest a long-term upward cargo trend serving as a bellwether for a general economic recovery taking place, or as the first peak-before-the-trough of a "W" shaped recovery that would signal a more gradual and longer overall economic recovery.