Long Beach port sees lower container volume

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Shipping terminals at the Port of Long Beach experienced a drop in container volume in July, down 2.5 percent from the same month a year ago. Imports were down by 1.2 percent, while exports were flat with a 0.6 increase in volume. Contributing to the overall dip was a 7.3 percent decrease in empty containers being shipped overseas. Port terminals handled 572,926 20-foot equivalent container units last month compared to 581,881 TEUs in July 2010.

“While our fiscal year numbers have been strong, up over 10 percent in 2011 versus 2010, July’s volumes do show that importers, particularly retailers, are taking a much more conservative approach to their holiday inventories,” says Sean Strawbridge, managing director of trade relations and port operations. “But, it’s important to note 2010 was a very strong year for imports, with record gains of nearly 25 percent. So the fact that this year’s volumes are holding steady at those levels is not bad news, given the general state of the economy.”

Import containers accounted for 290,314 TEUs in July compared to 293,878 TEUs in the same period last year. Export containers hit 126,968 TEUs compared to 126,117 TEUs in July 2010. Empty container moves were down 7.3 percent to 155,644 TEUs; most empty containers are bound overseas. Calendar year to date, overall container moves at the port are up 4.7 percent; imports also are up 4.7 percent, and exports are up 3.5 percent.