Port of Los Angeles turns in solid June performance
July 16, 2012
The Port of Los Angeles (POLA) turned in a strong performance in June, according to recently-released data.
Total container volume—at 696,847 Twenty-foot Equivalents (TEU)—were up 8.75 percent annually and were below May and April, which hit 731,352 TEU and 707,182 TEU, respectively.
June imports were up 6 percent at 353,930 TEU, and exports were up 6.9 percent at 174,418 TEU. Total imports and exports—at 528,348 TEU—were up 6 percent annually. And empties were up 17.21 percent at 168,499 TEU.
On a year-to-date basis for the first six months of the year, total POLA volumes are up 6.45 percent at 4,010,203 TEU.
“June was a solid month, not a great month,” said POLA Director of Communications Philip Sanfield in an interview. “It is ahead of June 2011, when we were off 12.5 percent compared to the previous June . All in all we are pleased with June and the first six months of the year.”
While POLA is up nearly 6.5 percent year-to-date, its West Coast counterpart, the Port of Long Beach (POLB) is down about the same amount during that span. POLB had not released June data at press time.
With that in mind, Sanfield said POLA’s gains were not due to a sudden surge in consumer demand. Instead, he said it may have more to do with some strategic alliances between ports and carriers.
And consumer spending is in a bit of a summer lull, with today’s news from the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Department of Commerce said June marked the third straight month of declining retail sales.
“We are somewhat very cautiously optimistic about the next six months,” said Sanfield. “We are now hearing a lot about a muted Peak Season being possible this year. If we can maintain the growth we had over the first six months of the year in the second half it would be a good year for us.”
At a time when mixed economic signals prevail and many economists are skeptical about the strength of the economy, Hackett Associates President Ben Hackett said that his firm remains optimistic that consumers will remain active.
“We think most [future growth] will be driven by still-low inventories,” he said in an interview. “Any requirements for orders for back-to-school season in August and the beginning of holiday shopping in November will result in increased volumes. New housing starts are also continuing to grow and are still positive. We think things are not as bad as perhaps some economists and commentators are making them out to be.”
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