By Mark Edward Nero
Reduced economic activity in Asia associated with the Lunar New Year contributed to lower container volumes at the Port of Long Beach last month compared to the previous February, according to newly released data from the POLB.
Overall, traffic totaled 498,311 TEUs last month, a decline of 11.2 percent compared to the same month last year, which happened to record the highest-volume February in port history: cargo in February 2016 ballooned 35.9 percent year-over-year.
The Lunar New Year holiday began Jan. 28, almost two weeks earlier than in 2016. The Lunar New Year typically results in slower trade since businesses in China – Long Beach’s primary trading partner – close for a week or more in observance of the holiday. The impact on the port is normally seen two weeks afterwards, accounting for the time it takes vessels to cross the Pacific.
Import containers were down 15.6 percent in February to 249,759 TEUs, according to data released March 8. Exports were slightly lower, 119,811 TEUs, off 2.6 percent. Empty containers sent from Long Beach docks totaled 128,742 TEUs, a drop of 9.7 percent.
More than a million containers moved through the Port of Long Beach in the first two months of 2017. For the fiscal year to date, which began in in October 2016, Long Beach has seen a total of 2.74 million TEUs, which is a 6.4 percent drop from the 2.93 million containers moved during the same five-month period in the previous fiscal year.
The port’s latest monthly cargo numbers are available at http://www.polb.com/economics/stats/latest_teus.asp; more detailed cargo numbers can be found at www.polb.com/stats.