Port of Los Angeles posts best output ever for the month of January
February 15, 2012 - LM Editorial
Cargo activity at the Port of Los Angeles got off to a great start, with the port announcing earlier today that its January total of 698,715 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalents) represents its best January ever recorded, topping January 2007, which reached 691,602 TEU.
January imports—at 356,394 TEU—were up 5.25 percent annually, and exports—at 168,427 TEU—were up 5.9 percent. Empty containers were up 6.77 percent at 173,893 TEU.
The export mix at POLA is primarily comprised of materials, including paper, paper board, waste paper at the top of the list, as well as fabric, raw cottons, and grain and other agricultural products, and scrap metal, among others.
Export performance has been very strong at POLA in recent months, with October, November and December exports coming in at 193,547 TEU, 195,877 TEU and 176,530 TEU, respectively. Total 2011 exports marked a POLA all-time record at 2,109,394 TEU.
“January showed very balanced growth on both sides for imports and exports,” said POLA Director of Communications Philip Sanfield. “Some of the drivers for this were inventory restocking, with retailers perhaps having a little bit of a better holiday season than originally anticipated. Some of these numbers may be reflected in restocking either on shelves or in warehousing.”
Sanfield said that POLA is still seeing year-over-year effects of California United Terminals (CUT) switching from Long Beach to Los Angeles in December 2010, explaining that CUT was still getting into gear in December 2010 and January 2011 and not at full operational capacity, whereas January 2012 was the first month in which it was at full capacity in terms of annual comparisons.
Other factors contributing to a strong month cited by Sanfield included growing jobs numbers and the Chinese New Year, which began at the end of January, when many Chinese factories close for multiple weeks and move ahead of schedule in advance.
This could impact February numbers, too, he said, in the event a slowdown in cargo activity was to occur.
“If you look back at 2011, there were only three months—August, September, and October—which topped this one,” said Sanfield. “January is traditionally a slower month, too. This is an encouraging start. We still will forecast 2012 conservatively as a month does not make a year, but we are very encouraged.”
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