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Rail News: Intermodal

L.A.-area ports pumped up container volumes in February

Container traffic at the Port of Long Beach, Calif., registered a significant increase in February and nearly reached a record level.

Volume totaled 530,967 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), up 36.6 percent compared with February 2012. Import container volume surged 46 percent to 279,144 TEUs — the highest February level since 2007 — while export container volume climbed 17.2 percent to 140,626 TEUs. Empties skyrocketed 44.2 percent to 111,197 TEUs.

Trans-Pacific trade this time of year often is impacted by the Lunar New Year holiday, which can slow goods production in many Asian countries that export to the United States, port officials said in a volume summary. The holiday, which is is determined by the lunar calendar, began in late January last year, affecting February 2012 volume. But this year, the holiday started in mid-February and its effects more likely will be reflected in March statistics, port officials said.

"Also, cargo increases in recent months are in part due to the more frequent use of larger ships and the addition of service lines to Long Beach," they said.

Meanwhile, the Port of Los Angeles reported February volume totaling 614,949 TEUs, up 17 percent year over year. Export volume dipped 4.9 percent to 156,691 TEUs, but import volume surged 25.2 percent to 318,547 TEUs, total loaded container volume climbed 13.4 percent to 475,238 TEUs and empty container volume soared 31.1 percent to 139,711 TEUs.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/15/2013