Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach volumes are mixed in September

If October comes in strong, POLA says it could reflect a "mini-surge" type of Peak Season.

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Cargo activity at the nation’s two largest ports— the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB)—were mixed in September.

POLB imports, which are primarily comprised of consumer goods, at 265,102 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) in September, were up 0.7 percent annually and were behind August’s 274,977 TEU and ahead of July’s 261,233 TEU. Exports, which are primarily comprised of raw materials, decreased 2.8 percent to 114,902 TEU. This was below August exports at 128,225 TEU and July’s 124,574 TEU.

Total September volume at POLB at 512,020 TEU were down 2.9 percent annually. This includes 132,016 in empties which were down 9.4 percent.  Total POLB volumes are down 4.4 percent on a year-to-date basis, due to economic weakness and cutbacks in ship calls by various niche operators at the end of 2011 and early 2012, said POLB.

Total September volumes at the Port of Los Angeles increased 5.57 percent to 744,923 TEU, which is ahead of August’s 706,669 TEU and July’s 698,847 TEU.

Imports rose 3.38 percent to 385,250 TEU, ahead of August’s 376,189 TEU and July’s 371,859 TEU. And September exports—at 172,432—were off 2.56 percent annually, which was ahead of August’s 164,819 and July’s 165,581 TEU.

Total loaded containers at POLA—at 557,683 TEU—were up 1.47 percent annually in September. And for the first nine months of the year, container volumes are up 5.16 percent at 6,188,172 TEU.

September marks the third straight month total POLA volumes have cracked the 700,000 TEU mark. POLA Director of Media Relations Philip Sanfield told LM that this could serve as a sign of a mini-surge but not a traditional one as has been the case in previous years.

“Imports are leading the way, while exports are slowing down somewhat,” he said. “But the last two years of exports were record-breaking but are still in decent shape to match that output.”

With import growth ostensibly in a healthy place, Sanfield said that were imports to approach the 400,000 TEU mark in November, it would represent stable volume growth and some type of a Peak Season.

The recently published Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates stated that it expects October import volumes at a select group of U.S. ports, including POLA and POLB, to be up 9.9 percent.


About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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