Mixed fortunes for US West Coast box hubs.
BELLWETHER container ports on the US West Coast have had a mixed beginning to 2010, with Long Beach recording a 7.4% increase in January container volumes, compared with a 2.4% decline reported at its neighbour Los Angeles.
The performance at the Port of Long Beach continues the momentum from December, when it also reported a month-on-month throughput increase compared with zero growth at Los Angeles.
Long Beach last month posted increases in imports as well as exports. Import containers posted an 8.6% improvement over the dark days of January 2009, with this year"s figure coming in at 217,925 teu. Exports were up 27.9%, at 113,183 teu.
Los Angeles suffered a reverse on imports, handling 6.7% fewer inbound teu in January, at 296,304. Exports through Los Angeles, however, surged 35% over year ago, to 141,243 teu.
Imports traditionally have been a better barometer of consumer confidence and the state of the US economy. Statistics from Los Angeles and Long Beach, which account for an estimated 40% of US containerised imports, provide an early snapshot of concrete trends.
During the current recession, exports from the US have emerged as a major force that has kept national ports from returning even more dismal figures.
Overall, Los Angeles handled 572,969 teu in January this year compared with 587,004 teu a year ago. Long Beach had total January volumes of 428,805 teu, compared with 399,295 teu a year ago.