Containerized imports at the Port of Long Beach increased 3.5 percent in June over the same month a year ago, the slowest rate since March, and fell back 1.5 percent from May, according to port figures.
The import expansion was far behind the 9 percent gain Long Beach saw in export volume, but loaded container exports also declined 3.5 percent month-to-month as activity at the country's second busiest port slowed down at the start of the summer.
Despite the moderate year-over-year increase in imports, June was the port's second busiest month for imports so far this year. Exports normally slow down a bit in the summer but increase sharply with the fall harvest.
Long Beach handled 271,113 loaded import TEUs, second only to the 275,100 TEUs handled in May. A recent forecast in the Global Port Tracker forecast U.S. containerized imports would be flat each month this summer compared to 2010, but the shortened peak season this fall would see double-digit growth in imports from Asia.
Containerized imports in the first six months of the year were up 6 percent in Long Beach, on the lower end of industry forecasts that called for an increase of 6 to 9 percent increase in U.S. imports in 2011.
Exports in Long Beach are up 4 percent year-to-date, which is below expectations. Total cargo volume including imports, exports and empty containers is up 6.2 percent compared to the first half of 2010.