Port of Los Angeles records its best-ever April volumes
May 15, 2012
April container volumes for the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) were markedly improved over March, with the port announcing that container volumes for the month represented the single best output for the month of April in POLA history.
Total container volume—at 707,182 Twenty-foot Equivalents (TEU)—were up 14.5 percent annually and were well ahead of March and February, which hit 650,452 TEU and 419,094, respectively.
April imports were up 16.71 percent at 364,555 TEU, and exports were up 11.58 percent at 186,838 TEU. Empties—at 155,788—were up 13.33 percent. On a year-to-date basis for the first four months of the year, total POLA volumes are up 6.10 percent at 2,582,003 TEU.
“It was a very good month with double-digit increases on both the import and export side,” said POLA Director of Communications Philip Sanfield in an interview. “Any time we see 700,000 TEU come through, it is a good month, especially this early in the year. There was great import and export balance, coupled with empties being up 13 percent.”
The spike in empties, he said, is a good indication that retailers and shippers are re-positioning containers for the back-to-school season at the end of the summer.
School-related supplies and clothing typically begin to start arriving at the port around the end of June and into early July, and Sanfield added that this creates some cause for optimism in that late summer volumes will move into a more traditional Peak Season shipping pattern.
“It is a little early to tell what will happen regarding Peak Season,” he said. “We budget conservatively, but we have had a good start to the year over the first four months being up 6 percent. If we can grow or sustain that into double-digits, that would be great. But there are a lot of related factors so we will have to wait and see.”
The recently published Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates is also expecting volume gains in the summer months through back-to-school season.
The report, which surveys six U.S.-based ports including POLA, is calling for June to be up 4 percent at 1.3 million TEU, and July is projected to see a 1.8 percent gain at 1.35 million TEU. August and September are expected to see 7.2 and 8.7 percent gains at 1.42 million TEU and 1.45 million TEU, respectively.
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