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Rail News: Intermodal

Fewer import containers flowed into L.A.-area ports last month


In July, the Port of Long Beach, Calif., handled 572,926 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), down 2.5 percent compared with July 2010 volume. Imports dipped 1.2 percent to 290,314 TEUs and exports were essentially flat at 126,968 TEUs.

The volume of empty containers shipped overseas declined 7.3 percent to 155,644 TEUs, “contributing to the overall dip,” port officials said in an online news item.

July’s volumes “show that importers, particularly retailers, are taking a much more conservative approach to their holiday inventories,” said Sean Strawbridge, managing director of trade relations and port operations. “But it’s important to note 2010 was a very strong year for imports, with record gains of nearly 25 percent. So the fact that this year’s volumes are holding steady at those levels is not bad news, given the general state of the economy.”

Through 10 months of the port’s fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, overall volume climbed 10.2 percent to 5.2 million TEUs compared with the same period in the prior fiscal year. Imports climbed 9.5 percent and exports rose 8.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the Port of Los Angeles in July handled 688,326 TEUs, down 5.8 percent compared with July 2010 volume. Loaded imports declined 3.2 percent to 357,668 TEUs but loaded exports increased 12.8 percent to 165,135 TEUs. Total loaded containers inched up 1.4 percent to 522,803 TEUs and total empty containers plunged 23 percent to 165,523 TEUs.

Through 2011’s first seven months, the port handled 4.4 million TEUs, up 1.4 percent year over year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/17/2011