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  August 17th, 2016 | Written by

A Tale of Two Ports: The Saga Continues

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  • Cargo trends in the Port of Los Angeles are on the upswing this year.
  • Cargo at the Port of Long Beach is down.
  • The Port of Long Beach is expecting a slack peak season this year.

The performance disparity between the two neighboring port’s on Southern California’s San Pedro Bay continues. In June we reported that cargo trends in the Port of Los Angeles are on the upswing for this year, while the opposite is true of the Port of Long Beach.

The latest numbers show that those trneds are continuing.

July imports at the Port of Los Angeles climbed 5 percent compared to the previous year. Overall cargo volumes in July slipped 1.6 percent, mostly due to a decline in the shipment of empty containers. For the first seven months of 2016, year-to-date volumes have increased 4.75 percent compared to 2015.

Container volume at the Port of Long Beach was down 7.7 percent in July compared to the same month in 2015, when harbor terminals handled a record amount of cargo. Dockworkers moved 637,091 TEU last month. Imports totaled 325,608 containers, a 5.9 percent year-over-year decrease. Exports numbered 142,812 TEUs, a drop of 0.7 percent. Empties decreased to 168,671, 15.9 percent lower than July 2015, the port’s strongest July on record. Volumes for 2016 at the Port of Long Beach are down 1.9 percent through July. Last year was the third busiest in the Long Beach’s history, the port noted in a statement.

“As retailers prepare for consumer needs during the holiday season, we’re encouraged to see import volumes increase,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We are prepared along with our supply chain stakeholders to handle cargo with speed, efficiency and first-class service as we kick off our traditional busy season.”

The Port of Long Beach sounded a different note. The port’s statement said: “Due to continued market uncertainty and high inventory levels, the traditional holiday peak season is off to a slow start and several national forecasts have been revised downward to reflect this softness in cargo movement.”

In Los Angeles, loaded imports increased 5.15 percent in Julyto 368,696 TEU compared to last July. Loaded exports dropped 2.87 percent to 132,490 TEU. Combined, total loaded volumes grew 2.9 percent to 501,186 TEU. With a decrease in empty containers of 11.9 percent, overall July volumes were 687,891 TEU, a decrease of 1.6 percent compared to June 2015.

Year to date, overall cargo volumes art the Port of Los Angeles have increased 4.75 percent to 4,821,467 TEU.