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Total October volume at Port of Long Beach is down 20.5 percent annually

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
November 18, 2011

October volumes at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) were down were down for the fourth straight month, according to data released by the port this week.

POLB imports, which are primarily comprised of consumer goods, came in at 240,248 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) in October, which was down 20.8 percent compared to the 303,168 TEU from October 2010. And import volumes have been trending down sequentially in the months leading up to October, too, with July, August, and September, coming in at 290,314 TEU, 267,198 TEU, and 263,214, respectively.

POLB exports—at 118,325 TEU—were down 21.4 percent compared to the 150,581 TEU from October 2010. Exports in July, August, and September hit 126,968, 121,277, and 118, 214, respectively.

Monthly empties—at 129,092 TEU—were down 19.3 percent annually, and total volume—at 487,665 TEU—was down 20.5 percent compared to the 613,621 in October 2010, marking the largest annual percentage decline in 2011. On a year-to-date basis, total TEU are down 1.7 percent at 5,091,266 TEU.

POLB Assistant Director of Communications Art Wong told LM that he was a little surprised at how steep the annual volume declines were, but he did point out that the departure of California United Terminals to the Port of Los Angeles earlier this year accounted for about one-tenth of total POLB volumes. And a Los Angeles Times report from earlier this week stated that Hyundai’s move to POLA represented another ten percent in total cargo leaving the port, which Wong confirmed.

Total imports for both of these west coast ports were down 6.7 percent in October, said Wong.

“With U.S. retailers consistently reported solid sales this year, I thought they would order more aggressively for the holiday season,” said Wong.  “Instead, imports for the two ports have been negative for five straight months, compared to the same months a year ago.”

When asked how much of a percentage retail-related cargo represents for POLB, Wong said that was somewhat difficult to gauge, but he estimated that 85-to-90 percent of POLB imports are from Asia, with half of that tally from China, which is largely comprised of retail goods.

On the export side, he said POLB mainly ships out raw materials, such as the recycled paper that gets used for packaging, cotton for clothing, plastic for toys, and leather hides for shoes and handbags.

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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