Container trade volume at the Port of Long Beach dropped 20.5 percent in October compared to the same period a year ago. Imports were down 20.8 percent, and exports dipped 21.4 percent.
Port terminals handled 487,665 20-foot equivalent container units last month compared to 613,621 TEUs. This was the largest percentage drop so far this year comparing same monthly periods from a year ago, and it represents the fourth straight month of decline.
The port said a portion of the decline in traffic was attributable to the departure of California United Terminals, which vacated one of its seven container terminals last year. CUT accounted for roughly a 10th of the port’s overall container traffic.
After experiencing record gains in 2010 and continued growth in the earlier part of the year, imports are down 2 percent and exports are down 1 percent for calendar year to date. The port said that despite signs that consumer demand is rebounding across the nation, retailers appear to have taken a cautious approach for the upcoming holiday season.
For October, import containers accounted for 240,248 TEUs compared to 303,168 TEUs. Export containers hit 118,325 TEUs compared to 150,581 TEUs. Empty container moves bound overseas also were down; the port moved 129,092 TEUs of empty containers in October, down 19.3 percent.