Container volumes at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach bounced back strongly in March following a weak February.
Imports in Long Beach increased 18.3 percent and exports were up 10 percent compared to March 2011. Total container volume, including empties, was up 12 percent.
Imports in Los Angeles increased 9.3 percent while exports were down 2.4 percent compared to March 2011. Total container volume was up 8.3 percent.
February was an especially weak month for imports because factories in Asia were shut down for as long as two weeks for the annual Chinese New Year celebration. Imports declined 18 percent in Long Beach and 7.8 percent in Los Angeles compared to February 2011.
April could be another good month as retailers step up their imports from Asia to get ahead of a general rate increase shipping lines in the eastbound Pacific plan to implement beginning May 1.
March was the busiest month of the year so far for exports, and could be the peak month until late this year. Exports normally trend downward during the spring and summer months, and then increase during the autumn harvest.
Total container volume in Long Beach in the first three months of the year is down 2.9 percent compared to the same period last year. Total container volume year-to-date in Los Angeles is up 3.2 percent.