Containerized imports declined a combined 2.3 percent at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in July compared to the same month last year, as the ports handling fell short of an especially strong summer in 2010.
Imports last month declined 3.2 percent in Los Angeles and 1.2 percent in Long Beach. The Port of Los Angeles noted July 2010 was an unusually strong month as container volume increased 27 percent over July 2009.
The summer of 2010 was unconventional in that retailers, responding to vessel capacity shortages, shipped early and containerized shipments from Asia peaked in August.
This year should see a more conventional peak season, with the months of September and October expected to be the strongest months of the year. However, given the current economic soft patch and declining consumer confidence in the U.S. economy, the Port of Los Angeles said conditions are too volatile to make an accurate prediction as to what container volumes will look like this fall.
Nevertheless, the July imports at both ports were the highest monthly containerized import counts of the year so far.
Exports have been up all year and growth continued in July. Exports increased 12.8 percent in Los Angeles over the same month last year. Exports were up 0.6 percent in Long Beach.
A report from Beacon Economics on exports of all kinds from the state of California during the month of June corroborates the port trends. The report lags the port numbers by one month. Beacon said export shipments from California companies in June increased 13 percent over the same month last year, the 20th consecutive month of growth in exports from California.