Thursday, September 15, 2011

Long Beach Cargo Volume Drops Off in August

Cargo volumes at the Port of Long Beach took a sizable tumble in August, ending a streak of month-over-month increase that began in March.

August has typically been the sweet spot between the typical mid-year back-to-school cargo increases and the holiday season peaks, either as the strongest month of the year or leading into the strongest months of the year. In the 15 years between 1995 and 2010, August has come in as one of the port's three strongest months of the year 11 times: four times as the strongest month of the year, four times as the second strongest month, and three times as the third strongest.

The dip in August now puts the month at the fourth highest for 2011 with four months, and the meat of the peak season to go before the end of the year.

The port's total container volume levels in August dropped 12.3 percent compared to August of last year, with a total of 535,929 TEUs moved.

Exports and imports levels both took a hit during August, with import levels – so important moving into the peak season – dropping over 14.2 percent compared to the year-ago period, with 267,198 loaded inbound TEUs handled.

Things fared only slightly better on the export side of the ledger, with the port handling 121,277 loaded outbound TEUs in August, a 3.8 decline from August of 2010.

Still, the port remains in positive growth territory for the calendar year, with a total of 4,076,426 TEUs handled since the start of the year. However, the drop in August cut the port's calendar year-to-date growth to just 2.1 percent above the January to August period last year.