The Southern California ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles reported strong growth in cargo volumes in February, but noted the sharp increase may be due in part to the timing of Chinese New Year which dampened volumes last February but led to a surge this year.
The Port of Long Beach said its terminals handled 530,967 TEUs (both full and empty) in February, 36.6 percent more than in February 2012.
Imports were 279,144 TEUs, up 46 percent from the same month last year and the best February since 2007, while exports were 140,626 TEUs, up 17.2 percent, and empties were 111,197 TEUs, up 44 percent.
The ports noted transpacific trade this time of year is often affected by the Lunar New Year holiday, which can slow goods production in many Asian countries that export to the United States. The holiday is determined by the lunar calendar and in 2012 started in late January, which dampened February 2012 numbers. This year, the holiday was in mid-February and may have boosted volumes in February and will lead to lower volumes in March.
Long Beach said its cargo increases in recent months were in part due to more frequent use of larger ships and the addition of liner services to Long Beach. Late last year, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM, two of the largest ocean carriers in the world, established exclusive hubs at the Port of Long Beach.
The Port of Los Angeles said its February 2013 volumes (both full and empty) were 614,948 TEUs, 17 percent more than handled in February 2012.
Imports were 318,547 TEUs, up 25.2 percent, Exports were 156,690 TEUs, down 4.9 percent, while empties were 139,711 TEU, up 31 percent. - Chris Dupin