Container trade volume at the Port of Long Beach dropped 15.2 percent overall in February compared to the same period a year ago, the port said Wednesday, March 14. Imports were down 18.1 percent, and exports dipped 1.6 percent. Port terminals handled 388,589 20-foot equivalent container units last month compared to 458,336 TEUs in February 2011.
The port said the drop in imports in February is partly attributable to the early Chinese New Year; import volumes typically fall following the New Year as factories in Asia close for a week or more during the holidays. Last year, the New Year fell on Feb. 3, and the slowdown was felt in the latter part of the month and into early March. This year, the New Year fell on Jan. 23, putting the entire slowdown period in February.
For February, import containers accounted for 191,475 TEUs compared to 233,660 TEUs in the same period last year. Export containers hit 120,006 TEUs compared to 121,929 TEUs in February 2011. Empty container moves were down 25 percent to 77,108 TEUs compared to 102,747 TEUs a year ago; most empty containers are bound overseas.