Container volumes at West Coast ports took an especially troubling dive in February and every major gateway felt the pain.
Seattle-Tacoma, Portland, Oakland and Los Angeles-Long Beach recorded drops in total volume, imports and exports, according to statistics published by the Pacific Maritime Association.
The total volume of loaded containers moving through the West Coast was down 35.5 percent in February compared to February 2008. The year-to-date decline was 28.2 percent.
Containerized imports plunged 39.1 percent in February and were down 28.2 percent year-to-date. Containerized exports dropped 29.9 percent in February and 28.3 percent year-to-date.
The February container volume declined 36.6 percent in Los Angeles-Long Beach, 28.9 percent in Oakland, 20 percent in Portland and 36.8 percent in Seattle-Tacoma.
Containerized imports in February were down 38.2 percent in Los Angeles-Long Beach, 38.2 percent in Oakland, 37.3 percent in Portland and 43.6 percent in Seattle-Tacoma.
Containerized exports dropped 33.2 percent in Los Angeles-Long Beach, 21.5 percent in Oakland, 3.9 percent in Portland and 29.1 percent in Seattle-Tacoma.
February is likely to be the worst month of the year as the global slump in trade was magnified by the closure of factories in Asia during the lunar New Year celebration. However, container volumes are likely to remain weak through the spring months.