POLA and POLB report record February volumes
POLA said it processed 725,059 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in February, which represents a 16% annual gain and the highest-volume February in the port’s 111 years of operation. POLB February volumes rose 32.8% to 661,790 TEU for an all-time high for the month, which comes on the heels of an all-time high in January of 657,830 TEU. POLB officials said that this marks the first time ever that POLB terminals handled more than 600,000 TEU in February.
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The saying “records are made to be broken” certainly struck a chord at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB), with each port this week announcing record volumes for the month of February.
POLA said it processed 725,059 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in February, which represents a 16% annual gain and the highest-volume February in the port’s 111 years of operation.
February imports headed up 28.1% annually to 383,089 TEU, and exports rose 1.4% to 157,591 TEU. Empties moved up 7.8% to 184,378 TEU. POLA officials said that the February cargo gains were partially attributed to the later timing of the 2018 Lunar New Year, with shippers moving cargo ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations in Asia, adding that March volumes are expected to be higher with advance shipments coming in February.
"In recent weeks, I’ve had the privilege of addressing the outstanding men and women of International Longshore Warehouse Union Locals 13, 63 and 94 to thank them for their critical role in making the Port of Los Angeles the busiest trade gateway in the Western Hemisphere, said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka in a statement. “With this strong start to 2018, I’m equally grateful to all of our supply chain partners who have helped us in our ongoing quest to optimize efficiency through world-class infrastructure, innovative technology solutions and extraordinary customer service.”
Through the first two months of 2018, POLA volumes are up 5.6% annually at 1,533,787 TEU.
POLB February volumes rose 32.8% to 661,790 TEU for an all-time high for the month, which comes on the heels of an all-time high in January of 657,830 TEU. POLB officials said that this marks the first time ever that POLB terminals handled more than 600,000 TEU in February.
February imports headed up 37% to 342,247 TEU, with exports up 9.3% at 130,916, and empties rising 46.5% at 188,628 TEU.
Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said in a statement that these volumes reinforce a recent trend of ocean carriers shipping a steadier flow of cargo, noting that a decade ago, February’s results would have qualified as one of the biggest months of the year.
“A month like this is now the new normal,” Cordero said. “We expect a lull in March as East Asian nations celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday, and then a rebound in April. We’re very happy with our busy start to 2018.”
POLB volumes are up 22.1% through February at 1,319,620 TEU.
In a research note addressing POLA and POLB February volumes, KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Todd Fowler wrote that while partially influenced by incremental demand ahead of the Lunar New Year, his firm views February container imports as strong from a seasonal standpoint, reflecting continued restocking and favorable underlying economic activity.
“Looking ahead, we anticipate volumes will decline sequentially into March as pull-forward from the Lunar New Year subsides, but remain largely consistent with prior-year levels,” he wrote. “With comparisons normalizing in April, and based on historical sequential trends, we anticipate a mid-single-digit increase in container import volumes on a full-year basis in 2018.”
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