Port of Long Beach container trade volume down 17.6% in November

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Container trade volume at the Port of Long Beach dropped 17.6 percent overall in November compared to the same period a year ago. Imports were down 15.6 percent, and exports dipped 22.2 percent.

Port terminals handled 459,881 20-foot equivalent container units last month compared to 558,308 TEUs in November 2010, the fifth straight month of decline in container traffic. A portion of the decline was attributable to the departure of California United Terminals, which vacated one of the port’s seven container terminals last year; CUT accounted for roughly a tenth of the port’s overall container traffic.

The port says the numbers reflect caution by retailers despite improving consumer confidence and a better-than-expected holiday shopping season this year. After experiencing record gains in 2010, calendar-year-to-date numbers are down for 2011. Imports are down 3.3 percent and exports are down 3.1 percent compared to the first 11 months of 2010.

For November, import containers accounted for 231,749 TEUs compared to 274,481 TEUs in the same period last year. Export containers hit 111,011 TEUs compared to 142,628 TEUs in November 2010. Empty container moves, most of which are bound overseas also were down; the port moved 117,121 TEUs of empty containers in November, down 17.1 percent compared to the same period last year.