Container imports at the Port of Long Beach in December fell 3.2 percent year-over-year, bringing total outbound shipments for the year down 3.3 percent compared to 2010.
Exports in December dropped 8.4 percent year-over-year in December, pulling total outbound shipments in 2011 down 3.6 percent. Total container traffic in December dropped 2.6 percent year-over-year, ending the year down 3.2 percent compared to 2010.
Long Beach’s container volumes in 2011 declined primarily because of the relocation of California United Terminals and its tenant, Hyundai Merchant Marine, to the neighboring Port of Los Angeles, in late 2010. That traffic had accounted for about 10 percent the container volume in Long Beach. The new CUT business was reflected in higher numbers in Los Angeles throughout 2011.
When comparing the Long Beach numbers in 2011 to the port’s 2010 volume without CUT, Long Beach saw a gain of 8.1 percent in total container volume. Imports were up 10.1 percent and exports increased 7.8 percent.
Also, several niche carriers that had been calling in Long Beach discontinued their trans-Pacific services last summer because to brutal competitive conditions and declining freight rates in the trade.
Long Beach is engaged in a $4 billion capital expansion program over the next decade. The port will expand existing terminals, build a new container terminal on a green-field site, construct a new bridge and add to its on-dock rail facilities.