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Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach post decent May volumes

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 16, 2011

Despite the increasingly negative economic headwinds of late, May volumes at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach mostly showed some decent signs of growth.

POLB imports, which are primarily comprised of consumer goods, hit 275,100 (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) in May, which was up 4 percent annually. This was up from April’s 270,107 and March’s 191,211. POLB Exports, which are primarily comprised of raw materials, were down 6.1 percent at 130,161 and were below April’s 270,107 and March’s 131,761.

Total POLB shipments for May—at 536,681 TEU—were up 2.3 percent annually.

Art Wong, spokesman for the Port of Long Beach, told LM in an interview that May numbers at the port were good but not great.”

“Compared to a year ago, export numbers are down but are in the same range we have seen in the last few months,” he said. “Given what is happening in the economy right now, these are good solid numbers.

When asked about the 6.1 percent annual drop in May exports, Wong explained that its comparison month in 2010 saw a significant spike in exports due to a major inventory re-build occurring at that time, making it tough for May 2011 to match that output.

POLA imports—at 360,969 TEU—were up 5.49 percent annually and ahead of April’s 312,359 TEU and March’s 297,023 TEU. Exports—at 184,274—were up 14.73 percent, ahead of April’s 167,448 TEU and behind March’s 192,849.

“We are really pleased with our May numbers,” said POLA Director of Communications Philip Sanfield. “Total shipments were up only 0.51 percent annually, but that is because empties were down so much [at 147,689 for a 20.86 percent annual decline]. May was our second best export month of the year behind March at 192,849, and the value of the American dollar had something to do with that.”

He added that POLA was up against challenging numbers from May 2010, which was up 20 percent over May 2009.

While May was solid at the port, he said the port is coming up against a very challenging next four months, given that volumes peaked early in 2010 and also did at other west coast ports.

“June, July and August were our best months in 2010,” he said. “We are not expecting growth beyond the numbers we had last June. If we do, we will be very pleased. We are estimating things will be relatively flat over the next six months or so regarding annual growth.”

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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