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Rail News: Intermodal

Cargo volumes a mixed bag for three major ports in May


The Port of Long Beach, Calif., in May registered a significant gain in cargo volume and recorded some of its highest container counts in nearly three years.

Total volume reached 583,588 20-foot equivalent container units (TEUs), up 17.2 percent compared with May 2012. Imports climbed 22.2 percent to 305,498 TEUs, the highest volume since August 2010, while exports rose 13.9 percent to 147,073 TEUs, the best mark since October 2010. Empty container volume increased 10.2 percent to 131,017 TEUs.

At the Port of Los Angeles, cargo volume in May totaled 636,852 TEUs, down 12.9 percent year over year.

Import volume dipped 12 percent to 326,115 TEUs, export volume plunged 16.3 percent to 154,904 TEUs, totaled loaded container volume fell 13.5 percent to 481,019 TEUs and empty container volume declined 11.2 percent to 155,832 TEUs.

Meanwhile, the Port of Virginia set a few volume records in May. The Norfolk facility handled 39,152 rail containers, besting the previous high-water mark of 37,478 set in November 2012, and established a new all-time-high percentage of containers moving via rail at 35.3 percent.

Overall, the port registered its most productive month so far in 2013 and fourth-best month ever in terms of TEU volume. The port in May handled 191,368 TEUs, up 7.2 percent year over year. Export volume rose 5.4 and import volume climbed 9.3 percent.

"On a fiscal year-to-date basis, the eleven months of fiscal-year 2013 through May add up to be the best fiscal-year performance in our history," said Rodney Oliver, interim executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, in a press release. "We're expecting this to continue as more ocean carriers are expressing interest in our deep water and rail connections."

The port is served by CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, Bay Coast Railroad Inc. and the Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad Co.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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