U.S. West Coast ports registered a modest increase of 5 percent in total loaded containers during the first six months of 2011 compared to the same period last year.
Export growth exceeded growth in imports, with exports up 9 percent and imports increasing 3 percent, according to statistics released Monday by the Pacific Maritime Association.
Exports also outperformed imports at Canada’s Pacific Coast ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert. Total 20-foot equivalent unit volume in Vancouver declined 6 percent compared to the first six months of 2010, while total loaded TEUs at Prince Rupert increased 12.5 percent.
On a regional basis on the U.S. West Coast, the Southern and Northern California gateways experienced stronger growth than the Washington ports. Total container volume in Los Angeles-Long Beach increased 6 percent in the first half of 2011. Oakland’s volume was also up 6 percent.
Total container volume in Seattle-Tacoma increased 1 percent. Portland’s container volume was up 17 percent, although the cargo base is modest compared to the other gateways.
At all of the ports, export growth clearly exceeded import growth. Exports were up 8 percent in Los Angeles-Long Beach and 9 percent in Oakland. Exports increased 10 percent in Seattle-Tacoma and 25 percent in Portland.
Imports increased 6 percent in Los Angeles-Long Beach as some carriers entered larger ships into their Pacific Southwest rotations and several niche carriers began inbound service to Southern California this past year. Imports were up 2 percent in Oakland.
Containerized imports increased 10 percent in Portland, while imports declined 8 percent in Seattle-Tacoma.
Containerized exports were strong at Port Metro Vancouver, increasing 13 percent compared to the first six months of 2010. Imports, meanwhile, declined 1 percent. Loaded exports at Prince Rupert increased 79.4 percent, while loaded import TEUs declined 4.5 percent.
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