Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Long Beach Cargo Volumes Drop in 2011

Shipping terminals at the Port of Long Beach moved a total of 6.1 million twenty-foot equivalent containers in 2011, a 3.2 percent drop compared to 2010. Also, imports were down a reported 3.3 percent and exports dropped 3.6 percent, according to the port.

The decline, however, is being attributed to Long Beach’s loss of California United Terminals, which vacated one of the POLB’s seven container terminals in late 2010. CUT, which had accounted for about a tenth of the port’s overall container traffic, now leases about 100 acres of the 512-acre APM Terminals facility at the Port of Los Angeles.

When Long Beach’s annual numbers are adjusted for CUT’s departure, the remaining six container terminals actually saw a volume gain of 8.1 percent in 2011, with imports up 10.1 percent and exports climbing 7.8 percent.

For the month of December, the port moved 509,944 TEUs, a 2.6 percent decrease compared to the same period a year ago. Imports were down 3.2 percent to 248,609 TEUs and exports were down 8.4 percent to 129,229 TEUs.

But again, when adjusted for CUT’s departure, overall container traffic at the remaining Long Beach terminals was up 1.7 percent in December 2011 compared with the same month the year before. Imports were up 1.8 percent; exports, however, declined 4.5 percent.

CUT left Long Beach in part due to concerns over the port’s Middle Harbor Project, which is an effort to combine the land the California United terminal leased with another facility in order to create a larger, more modern and streamlined facility.

The port says the project will double the facility’s capacity while reducing related pollution by half. Middle Harbor is part of more than $4 billion in capital improvement projects planned for the POLB in the coming decade.