Port of LA reports robust container throughput

Perhaps just as significantly, a record number of exports lead the way

By ·

The recession may be just a dark memory for the Port of Los Angeles, which is reporting a year-over-year container surge of 16 percent in 2010.

Perhaps just as significantly, a record number of exports lead the way.

“We have clearly turned the corner,” said port spokesman, Phillip Sanfield. “Throughput figures are up to pre-recession years, and we hope that a recovery of the global economy will sustain this growth.

Port exports rose 10.3 percent in 2010 to 1,841,274 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) compared to 1,668,911 in 2009 and surpassed the previous container export record of 1,782,502 TEUs in 2008.  Meanwhile, imports increased 12.8 percent in 2010 (3,973,933 TEUs) compared to 2009 (3,524,386 TEUs).

“The 2010 volume gains far surpass our initial estimates, and we’ve been able to facilitate some export opportunities in the past year through our TradeConnect initiative,” said Geraldine Knatz, the port’s executive director.

The port handled a total of 7,831,902 in 2010 and remains the nation’s busiest trade gateway in terms of container volume.  In December, the total number of TEUs imported and exported through the Port of Los Angeles was 612,651, an 8.82 percent increase over the 562,989 TEUs handled in December 2009. Loaded container exports were up 5.6 percent at 299,304 TEUs compared to 283,364 TEUs in December 2009.

The neighboring Port of Long Beach is expecting to issue an equally robust report next week.

“The numbers are in,” said spokesman, Art Wong, “and we expect to see a big gain in volume.

As to what part exports will play in that scenario remains a question, but the Port of Los Angeles is championing that angle in a big way.

“We not only have the port resources to help increase export trade, we have a coalition of regional business and civic leaders focused on facilitating the growing dialogue on exports – identifying ways to help businesses here and elsewhere increase their export activity,” said Tracy Rafter, Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed). 

BizFed has facilitated business forums in L.A. and Long Beach to hear from local companies and will report findings to the President’s Export Council (PEC) through BizFed member Gene Hale, who chairs the PEC’s Small & Medium-Size Business Engagement Subcommittee.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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