September volumes at Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach turn in impressive performances

September volumes at both the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB) were strong as the build up to the holiday season continues.

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September volumes at both the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB) were strong as the build up to the holiday season continues.

POLA volume was up 2.15% annually at 763,785 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) and was the port’s third-highest September for container volumes.

Imports were basically flat, down 0.07% to 388,670.05 TEU, and exports fell 11.48% to 128,445.50 TEU. Empties were up significantly, rising 15.45% to 246,668.95 TEU, with POLA noting that the gains for empties were due to trade policy changes impacting waste paper exports to China.

In September, POLA said it had 88 vessel visits with an average TEU count of 8,679 per vessel, which is a new Port record, as well as a 22% annual increase.

“As we enter the final quarter of 2017, we’re pleased to be tracking toward record volumes for a Western Hemisphere port,” said Port of Los Angeles Director Gene Seroka in a statement. “We continue to demonstrate the LA Advantage to cargo owners, with a strong focus on meeting big-ship needs, developing world-class infrastructure, and delivering extraordinary customer service through innovation and efficiency.”

On a year-to-date basis through September, total POLA volume is up 8.2% annually at 6.9 million TEU. This ahead of 2016’s pace, which is significant as 2016 was a record-breaking volume year for the port at 8.8 million TEU for the entire year.

POLB volume in September saw a 28.3% annual increase to 701,169 TEU, helping the port to its best quarter in its history. Total third quarter POLB volume rose 15.9% to 2,114,306 TEU.

September imports saw a 29.5% annual increase to 366,298 TEU, with exports up 4.1% to 125,336 TEU. And empty containers at 209,985 TEU were up 6.4%. POLB officials said that the huge jump in cargo last month relative to a year ago is only partly due to the Hanjin bankruptcy that hit West Coast ports in September 2016.

“Simply put, we are having the best trade months in Port history,” said Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum in a statement. “Back-to-school merchandise was strong for us, and it looks like retailers are optimistic about the holiday season.”

POLB is bullish about the prospects of 2017 possibly unseating 2007 as the best month in the port’s history.

Through September, total POLB volume is up 8.9% annually at 5,565,713 TEU. 

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