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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Long Beach port pumps up volume in December; Vancouver port adds dual-hoist cranes


In what it characterized as an “unexpected surge,” the Port of Long Beach, Calif., in December handled 232,586 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) of imported cargo, up more than 13 percent compared with December 2008 volume. Exports jumped 30.9 percent to 123,084 TEUs.

The monthly increases are the first cargo gains in two years, according to the port.

December usually is a weak month for trade because retailers already have stocked up for the holiday season. The uptick indicates that stores had stronger-than-expected sales through the fall and now are “aggressively restocking their inventories,” port officials said in a prepared statement.

“These numbers are far better than expected, and may very well be the first signs of an economic recovery,” said Executive Director Richard Steinke. “We are cautiously optimistic that this marks the beginning of an ongoing, upward trend.”

Overall, the port in December handled 467,237 TEUs, up 8.7 percent. For the full year, the port handled 5.1 million TEUs, down 22 percent compared with 2008 volume and the lowest total since 2003.

Meanwhile, Canadian Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day yesterday announced three new dual-hoist gantry cranes are operational at Deltaport’s third berth in Vancouver, British Columbia. The berth features the first container terminal in North and South America with dual–hoist cranes designed to lift 80 tons, he said in a prepared statement.

The enhanced facility will “significantly improve” the region’s rail, port and trucking operations for trade flowing into Canada from Asia, and “give us the port capacity we need to meet projected container demand,” said Day.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/19/2010