Combined container import volume at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach grew 4.8 percent year-over-year in May, slower than the growth rate the month before and behind the 5.1 percent increase in combined exports.
The ports showed mixed results, with containerized exports surging 14.7 percent at Los Angeles while falling 6.1 percent at neighboring Long Beach.
But the larger import volume also accelerated at both ports, including a 15.6 percent increase in inbound loaded container volume from April to May at Los Angeles.
The strong sequential growth suggests trans-Pacific trade could be building toward a strong peak season this fall. May was easily the busiest month of the year in Los Angeles for imports. May was also the busiest month for imports in Long Beach.
Year-over-year, imports in Los Angeles were up 5.5 percent and in Long Beach imports increased 4 percent compared to May 2010.
As the largest port complex in North America, the Los Angeles-Long Beach container volumes are considered a bellwether for trade. The Southern California port complex accounts for 34.2 percent of all containerized imports in North America, including Canada and Mexico, and 20.9 percent of exports.