The Port of Los Angeles capped a year of record containerized exports with a 5 percent increase in December over December 2009.
Exports at the nation's largest container port totaled 1,841,274 20-foot equivalent units in calendar year 2010, surpassing the previous record of 1,782,502 TEUs in 2008.
Imports in December were up 5.6 percent over December 2009. Imports last year peaked in August. Retailers shipped their holiday merchandise early as they dealt with shortages of equipment and vessel space in the eastbound Pacific.
Port of Los Angeles in The JOC Annual Review and Outlook:
Geraldine Knatz of the Port of Los Angeles.
Although industry analysts began 2010 with a pessimistic view of trade prospects, given the devastating impact of the 2009 global trade recession, momentum built throughout the year. The Port of Los Angeles reported an increase of 16 percent in total container volume in 2010, including imports, exports and empty container moves.
Although the port's overall container volume almost matched the 2008 total, loaded containerized imports still fell about 165,000 TEUs short of the annual total two years ago about 10 percent behind the inbound total in 2007.
President Obama last year called for a doubling of U.S. exports over the next five years, and Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz said the port is working with local exporters to do its part.
"We've been able to facilitate some export opportunities in the past year through our TradeConnect initiative and increased networking with local business stakeholders. We want to continue that momentum and work with local business entities to advance the President's Export Initiative agenda," Knatz said.
Economists predict that 2011 could be a banner year for exports, especially in the agricultural sector. The U.S. is expected to step in to fill a void created by poor wheat and cotton crops in some producing nations, and the weak dollar makes U.S. exports more competitive in overseas markets.
Containerized imports in Los Angeles in 2010 also surpassed initial expectations, increasing 12.8 percent for the year. Imports are expected to be strong in 2011, although initial projections indicate that growth will be in the mid to high single digits in the eastbound Pacific.
The neighboring Port of Long Beach, which is expected to release its year-end numbers next week, will also report strong growth in 2010, said port spokesman Art Wong. Long Beach's total container volume January through November was up 24 percent compared to the same period in 2009.
-- Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at email@example.com.