Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Total July Cargo Numbers Down At SoCal Ports, Exports Show Growth

Total container volumes at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles remained strong for the calendar year, but both fell short of total monthly levels seen in July 2010.

The Port of Long Beach in July reported the highest monthly level of box moves for the calendar year-to-date and the highest monthly numbers since October of last year, despite falling 2.5 percent short of levels seen last July.

The Port of Los Angeles in July turned in its second strongest month of the year for total container moves, but fell 5.8 percent short of volumes reported in July 2010.

“July’s volumes do show that importers, particularly retailers, are taking a much more conservative approach to their holiday inventories,” Port of Long Beach Managing Director of Trade Relations and Port Operations Sean Strawbridge said. “But, it’s important to note 2010 was a very strong year for imports, with record gains of nearly 25 percent. So the fact that this year’s volumes are holding steady at those levels is not bad news, given the general state of the economy.”

Imports fell at both ports in July, while on the export side, Long Beach moved upward slightly for the month and Los Angeles saw a nearly 13 percent surge in outgoing boxes compared to July, 2010, levels.

“The primary source of growth for the US over the past year has been through the export sector,” Beacon Economics’ Founding Partner Christopher Thornberg said in a recent analysis. “Export trade is key in re-balancing the domestic economy given the massive trade deficit that opened in the middle part of the last decade."

The Southern California ports, which together make up the San Pedro Bay port complex, are the two busiest container ports in the Western Hemisphere. Combined the two ports have handled a total of 8 million TEUs since January, more than two times the TEU volumes handled by the hemisphere's second busiest port complex of New York/New Jersey.

Long Beach
For July, Long Beach port officials reported handling a total of 572,926 TEUs, a 2.5 percent drop off from the same period last year.

Imports through the port fell 1.2 percent in July, with a total of 290,314 loaded inbound TEUs reported. The port also handled a total of 126,968 loaded outbound TEUs in July, a 0.6 percent increase over July of last year.

For the year-to-date, Long Beach remains up 4.7 percent for the first seven months of the year, with 3.54 million TEUs handled.

Los Angeles
Across the bay, Los Angeles port officials reported handling a total of 688,326 TEUs in July, a 5.8 percent drop off from the year-ago period.

On the import side, Los Angeles handled a total of 357,667 loaded inbound TEUs in July, a 3.2 percent drop over the same month in 2010. The port fared much better on the exports side of the ledger, handling a total of 165,135 loaded outbound TEUs in July, a 12.8 percent increase over July of last year.

For the calendar year, Los Angeles remains 1.4 percent above the first seven months of 2010, with a total of 4.46 million TEUs handled.