Containerized imports at the Port of Los Angeles were flat in September compared to last year and slipped slightly from August, all but leaving the peak shipping of 2011 as a bust.
Loaded import containers at the nation’s largest port totaled 372,655 TEUs, down 0.2 percent from September 2010. September’s imports this year were less than the month before. Los Angeles in August handled 376,189 TEUs.
That leaves August as the strongest month of the year so far, and suggests shippers were maintaining a cautious outlook on consumer demand and keeping inventories tight because August, rather than September, was the peak month last year in the trans-Pacific trade lanes.
Industry analysts had projected a strong September this year, especially because the numbers would be compared to last September when the trade began its slow descent into the slack season.
Los Angeles experienced another strong month in year-over-year exports. Loaded export containers totaled 176,954 TEUs, up 26.6 percent from September 2010. However, exports were down 4 percent from the month before.
Shipping lines in the trans-Pacific have been holding out for a strong peak season, but now that the peak is drawing to a close, carriers are likely to begin pulling vessel strings from the Pacific. It appears that the slack winter season in the trans-Pacific arrived early this year.
Carriers at The Journal of Commerce TPM Asia conference in Shenzhen this week said they were already weighing capacity reductions as the peak season on the ocean trade lanes winds down.