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POLA and POLB report mixed volumes in May

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 15, 2012

May volumes at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB) were mixed, according to data released by the ports.

POLB imports, which are primarily comprised of consumer goods, came in at 249,937 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) in May for a 9.15 percent year-over-year decrease. Exports, which are primarily comprised of raw materials, were down 0.83 percent to 129,083 TEU. Empties were down 9.55 percent at 118,872 TEU, and total TEU for May at 497,892 were down 7.23 percent. Through the first five months of the year, volumes are down 6.09 percent annually at 2,266,406 TEU.

POLB officials said that May’s declining numbers were partly due to the elimination of several niche service strings that had called at the Port last year, but they were optimistic about the coming months.

“As we enter the cargo peak season in the latter summer months, some business is returning to the Port, however,” they said. “Three new strings of vessels from Asia began calling on Long Beach in late May. Combined, the three services are expected to add as much as 500,000 TEUs through the remainder of the calendar year.”

May volumes at the Port of Los Angeles were up 5.54 percent at 731,352, which marks the highest output ever recorded for May volumes at the port, topping May 2006’s 695,953 TEU. What’s more, this comes on the heels of the single best April the port ever had at 707,182 TEU. Imports were up 2.7 percent at 370,721, and exports were up 0.45 percent at 185,107 TEU. Total loaded containers were at 555,829 TEU for a 1.94 percent gain and empties were up 18.85 percent at 175,523. On a year-to-date basis, total TEU at 3,313,355 are up 5.98 percent.

“It was a good month, considering the last time we cracked 731,000 TEU was August 2010, which was Peak Season time,” said POLA Director of Communications Philip Sanfield. “Historically, this is the type of number we usually see around the Peak Season time of year. To see it in May is a bit of a surprise and also encouraging. Things are holding steady for both imports and exports, it seems. Our overall numbers staying relatively strong, because we have more balance on the exports right now.”

And like POLA, POLB is confident about its growth prospects for the rest of the year, which are supported by the recent edition of the Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, which is calling for a traditional Peak Season, something which has been absent in recent years because of the recession and subsequent slow recovery.

Sanfield said POLA is cautiously optimistic about consumer confidence, which lend credence to Peak Season possibilities and is supported by current POLA data.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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