Imports at the Port of Los Angeles were up by 9.3 percent in March to 324,758 20-foot-equivalent containers compared to 297,023 TEUs during the same period last year, according to newly released data by the port.
The rise in imports, the port says, is reflective of a volume surge following a break in exports from Asia in February due to Chinese New Year celebrations.
Reversing a trend, however, was the number of exports. The port’s outgoing container volume had been on the rise for months, even setting a record in 2011 with a 14.5 percent surge over the year before.
But last month, imports dropped by 2.4 percent compared with the same month in 2011. The port exported 188,155 TEUs in March compared to 192,849 TEUs in March 2011.
Also, the number of total empty containers moved jumped by a whopping 24 percent in March compared to last year. Over 137,500 empties were moved during the month, compared with just over 110,920 in March 2011. The port says the strong increase may be attributed in part to shipping containers back to Asia as the Chinese New Year cycle came to a close.
During Chinese New Year celebrations, factories in the region typically close for a week or longer. This year, the New Year fell on Jan. 23.
Factoring in empties, LA.’s overall March 2012 volumes -- 650,452 TEUs -- increased by 8.27 percent compared to March 2011’s 600,796 TEUs.
Through the first three months of the calendar year, the port has handled 1.87 million TEUs, compared with 1.81 TEUs in January through March of 2011, an increase of 3.23 percent.