Port of Long Beach February volumes see major gains
March 15, 2013
Like its neighbor, the Port of Los Angeles, across San Pedro bay, the Port of Long Beach (POLB) had a strong month volume-wise in February, according to data released by the port this week.
POLB imports, which are primarily comprised of consumer goods, were up 45.8 percent annually at 279,144 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units), and exports, which are comprised mainly of raw materials, were up 17.2 percent at 140,626 TEU. And empties—at 111,197 TEU—increased 44.2. POLB officials said that with imports exceeding empties, empty containers are sent overseas to be refilled with goods.
POLB added that Trans-Pacific trade levels early in the year can be impacted by the Lunar New Year, which sees Chinese factories shutting down for about a week and subsequently hinders goods production in Asian countries that export to the United States.
“Last year, our February numbers were relatively more affected by the Lunar New Year than they were this year,” POLB Media Relations Manager Daniel Yi said in an interview. “Over the last three-to-four months, we have seen steady increases, and the momentum highlights how in February 2012 was strongly impacted by the Lunar New Year, which is why we are seeing this growth for February 2013.”
Yi was not downplaying the strong February 2013 numbers, which were somewhat aided by the timing of the Lunar New Year. He noted that March will see annual growth, too, with the New Year impacting volumes in late February and spilling over into March.
February’s import numbers represent POLB’s highest import numbers since February 2007, which were before the recession at 284,800 TEU.
“This is due in part to the bigger ships that are calling at the port,” said Yi. “We believe the economy is slowly recovering, and that is supported by housing numbers and retail sales.”
POLB, said Yi, has 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.
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