May volumes are down nearly 13 percent at Port of Los Angeles
June 17, 2013
Volume in May at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) was down 12.9 percent, according to data released by the port today.
Total volume—at 636,851 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) was down 12.9 percent annually. Imports for the month—at 326,114 TEU—decreased 12 percent, and exports—at 154,004 TEU—were down 16.3 percent. Empty containers—at 155,832 TEU—were down 11.2 percent.
For the first five months of 2013, overall container volumes decreased 7.52 percent—or 249,047 TEU—compared to the same period in 2012.
In recent months POLA volumes have been negatively impacted due to a new service line between ocean carriers MSC and CMA CGM that moved from POLA to neighboring Port of Long Beach (POLB) having recently commenced, with both carriers having established hubs at POLB, with vessels calling on POLB. MSC is sharing a POLB hub with COSCO and MSC is in a terminal sharing arrangement with Hanjin at POLB.
While POLA May volumes were down, the most recent edition of the Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates noted that with the economic recovery moving slowly, retailers are being cautious this summer and could hold off on stocking up for the holiday season until fall,
” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in the report that “We aren’t expecting significant increases for imports until October, when retailers will have a better idea of what to expect for holiday demand.”
Despite some economic uncertainty, coupled with limited visibility, the housing sector continues to drive some demand for related items, including durable goods. But at the same time import growth has been quelled to a degree, due to cautious consumer spending, which was reflected in the May retail sales numbers released by the NRF and Department of Commerce.
Commerce reported that May retail sales at $421.1 billion were up 0.6 percent over April and up 4.7 percent compared to May 2012. Total sales for the March through May period were up 3.7 percent annually. The NRF reported that May retail sales, which exclude autos, gas stations, and restaurants, rose 0.6 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis from April and were up 4.3 percent on an unadjusted basis annually.
“It is an environment where things are moving along and the consumer continues to spend but at the same time things are by no means red hot either,” said Eric Starks, president of FTR Associates in a recent interview. “It is pretty consistent in terms of our general expectations and where the general economy has been and where we expect it to go over the next six months.”
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