Long Beach port container volumes drop in May

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The Port of Long Beach on Thursday, June 14, said its overall container traffic dropped 7.2 percent in May compared to the same period a year ago, with imports down 9.2 percent and exports down 0.8 percent.

Last month, port terminals handled 497,892 20-foot equivalent container units compared to 536,686 TEUs in May 2011. Imports containers accounted for 249,937 TEUs, compared to 275,100 TEUs in May 2011. Exports accounted for 129,083 TEUs, compared to 130,161 TEUs a year ago.

Calendar year to date, overall container traffic at the port is down 6.1 percent through May due partly to the elimination of several niche service strings that had called at the port last year. “As we enter the cargo peak season in the latter summer months, some business is returning,” the port said. Three new strings of vessels from Asia began calling on Long Beach in late May that combined are expected to add as much as 500,000 TEUs through the remainder of the calendar year.

Empty container moves were down 9.6 percent to 118,872 TEUs in May compared to 131,420 TEUs in May 2011; empty containers are sent overseas to be refilled with goods.