Containerized import volume into Southern California ports jumped 18.3 percent in May, as the shipping recovery at Los Angeles and Long Beach picked up speed and retailers pushed more goods out of Asia at a faster pace.
The increase in figures released Friday included a 12.5 percent year-over-year gain in imports, measured in 20-foot-equivalents, at the Port of Los Angeles and a 26.8 percent jump at Long Beach.
The accelerating growth gave the ports their strongest month in 20 months and contrasted with mixed signals elsewhere about the pace of the economic recovery.
The 342,171 import TEUs at Los Angeles was the highest total there since October 2008, at the start financial industry meltdown that sent trade into steep decline.
May’s import total at Los Angeles was about 38,000 TEUs ahead of April, a 13.2 percent month-to-month increase, and Long Beach imports grew 9.6 percent from April to May.
Combined exports expanded 9.4 percent at the two ports, but that marked a slowdown from the 13.7 percent growth at Los Angeles and Long Beach in April.
And in what may be good news for shippers reportedly facing a tough time finding containers in Asia, carriers took some 177,000 empty containers out of Los Angeles, some 50,000 more than the month before and 53 percent more empties than Los Angeles saw in the same month a year ago.