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Rail News: Intermodal
Long Beach port event stressed steady container volume growth in 2013

Steady import and export container volume growth is expected this year as the U.S. economy strengthens, according to intermodal industry experts who conducted presentations at the Port of Long Beach's ninth annual "Pulse of the Ports Peak Season Forecast" event on March 27.

The event drew a capacity audience of nearly 600 and featured nine panelists from every segment of the industry, port officials said in an online news item.

Representatives from the retail, shipping and terminal operating sectors predicted 3 percent to 6 percent growth in freight volume during this year's peak cargo-shipping season from August through October, they said.

This year's economic outlook compares favorably to recent years when experts were still waiting to see some concrete signs of recovery both domestically and worldwide, port officials said.

The positive outlook is somewhat tempered by concerns over a looming reduction in staffing by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at seaports due to the federal government's "sequestration" budget cuts, they said.

Presenters also expressed concerns about the economic impacts of state-by-state environmental regulations and other hurdles that could hamper the productivity of drayage trucking operations at ports.

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