The news was all bad regarding container volumes at the Port of Long Beach last month, as overall traffic fell 7.2 percent in May compared to the same period a year ago. Imports were down 9.2 percent and exports off 0.8 percent, according to the recently released data.
Last month, port terminals handled 497,892 20-foot equivalent container units, compared to 536,686 TEUs in May 2011, according to port figures. Imported containers accounted for 249,937 TEUs, compared to 275,100 TEUs in May 2011, while exported containers accounted for 129,083 TEUs last month, compared to 130,161 TEUs a year ago.
Empty container moves were down 9.55 percent to 118,872 TEUs in May compared to 131,420 TEUs in May 2011.
Traffic is also down for the fiscal year-to-date at Long Beach. During the port’s current fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, the numbers of loaded inbound, loaded outbound and empty TEUs shipped are down 9.61 percent, 9.12 percent and 9.10 percent, respectively, compared with the same period in FY 2011. The numbers add up to a total TEU deficit of 9.36 percent during the first nine months of the port’s fiscal year.
For the calendar year to date, overall container traffic is down 6.1 percent at the port through May. The port partially attributes the decrease in volumes to the elimination of several niche service strings that had called at the port last year.
But with the cargo peak season of the later summer months around the corner, some business is returning to the port; three new strings of vessels from Asia began calling on Long Beach in late May. Combined, the three services are expected to add up to 500,000 TEUs through the remainder of the calendar year, according to the port.