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Friday, July 15, 2016

Imports Fuel POLB Container Volume Increase

By Mark Edward Nero

Rising imports fueled higher container traffic at the Port of Long Beach in June, leading to a 3.4 percent overall volume increase over the same month last year, according to newly released data.

According to the port’s data, Long Beach terminals handled 603,339 twenty-foot-equivalent units last month. Of those, 313,526 were inbound containers, a gain of 5.5 percent year-over-year.

Exports were flat for the month at 128,099 TEUs, 0.1 percent lower than June 2015, but the number of empty containers moved edged up to 161,714 TEUs, a 2.2 percent increase.

Year-to-date total volume is down 0.6 percent compared to the first six months of 2015.

Although US warehouse inventories have been lingering at high levels since 2014, contributing to a sluggish ocean trade environment, West Coast ports have been experiencing import gains in recent months.

“Our improving cargo volumes reflect the confidence that customers continue to have in the Port of Long Beach,” CEO Jon Slangerup said in a statement. “This is an encouraging sign despite soft consumer demand, high inventory levels and an evolving maritime industry as shipping lines continue to consolidate vessel services.”

In the past two years, a slow first quarter has been followed by a rebounding second quarter. US first quarter gross domestic product growth has been revised upward to 1.1 percent from a previously estimated 0.8 percent. second quarter growth could top two percent, economic experts have suggested.

The Port of Long Beach’s latest monthly cargo numbers and more details are available at www.polb.com/stats.