March 2012 volumes mixed for Port of Los Angeles
April 12, 2012
The Port of Los Angeles (POLA) reported that March volumes were mixed on an annual basis.
March volumes for POLA—at 650,452 Twenty-foot Equivalents (TEU)—were up 8.27 percent annually, and it also outpaced the February total of 419,084 TEU, which was impacted by the Chinese New Year.
Imports were up 9.34 percent at 324,758 TEU, and exports saw a 2.43 percent decline at 188,155 TEU. Empties—at 137,538—were up 23.99 percent. On a year-to-date basis for the first three months of the year, total POLA volumes are up 3.23 percent at 1,874,820 TEU.
In a recent interview with LM, POLA Director of Communications Philip Sanfield said that export growth is not expected to be as strong as it was in 2011, which was up roughly 14 percent over 2010. Total 2011 exports marked a POLA all-time record at 2,109,394 TEU.
Sanfield said that an import uptick could be on the way as retailers begin to re-stock inventory. The National Retail Federation recently said that it expects 2012 retail sales will grow 3.4 percent to $2.53 trillion.
Sanfield added that POLA is “cautiously optimistic about import growth in the coming months.
This sentiment was also expressed by the Port of Long Beach at its recent“Annual Peak Season Forecast.”
At the POLB event, global shippers stated that they anticipate a busier 2012 peak season, with Southern California ports well prepared with facilities, labor force, and customer service ready to handle increased volumes.
And Walter Kemmsies, Ph.D, chief economist for Moffat & Nichol, said that exports are currently supporting the U.S. economy through overseas purchases of U.S. autos, construction equipment, and agricultural products.
What’s more, the recent Port Tracker report by the NRF and Hackett Associates said that it expects import cargo volumes at U.S. ports to post a 3.2 percent annual gain in April.
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