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Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles January volumes are mixed to begin 2013

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
February 19, 2013

January volumes at the nation’s two largest ports— the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB)—were mixed to begin 2012.

POLB imports, which are primarily comprised of consumer goods, were up 19.5 percent annually at 273,918 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) in January, reaching its highest level for the month of January since 2007, when it hit 303,344 TEU. And exports, which are primarily comprised of raw materials, increased 8.2 percent annually to 138,312 TEU. Empties, which are containers sent overseas to be refilled with goods, increased 23.1 percent to 135,631 TEU.

Total January volumes for POLB—at 536,263 TEU—were up 17.5 percent annually.

POLB officials said the strong showing for the month can be partially attributed to January comprising the weeks prior to the Chinese New Year, which began this week, and usually see an increase in cargo for transpacific trade lanes, as retailers stock up on merchandise before Chinese and other Asia-based factories close for the holiday.

POLB Media Relations Manager Daniel Yi told LM that POLB benefited from the addition of a new service line at the port between ocean carriers MSC and CMA CGM that moved from POLA to POLB. He added that both carriers have 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. 

“For the last quarter of 2012, we had a double digit annual increase, and the fiscal year is also looking much better,” said Yi. “The second half of last year and the first half of this year are looking good. It looks like the economy is rebounding some with retail sales and housing activity, which bodes well for us hopefully.”

Total January volumes at the Port of Los Angeles fell 4.25 percent to 669,000.30 TEU. Imports fell 5.32 percent to 337,428.30 TEU, and exports fell 5.44 percent to 159,257.50 TEU. Empties dipped 0.91 percent to 699,000.30.

POLA Director of Communications Philip Sanfield told LM that the aforementioned vessel service change from POLA to POLB definitely factored into the port’s January volumes.

“Looking back at our total TEU count over the last three months, things are trending up, but we are likely to see some soft numbers in the coming months, due to the service shift,” he said.

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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