West Coast ports handled 7 percent more loaded containers in March compared to the same month last year, according to numbers published on the Web site of the Pacific Maritime Association.
Containerized imports surged 11 percent year-over-year in March, partly because of the timely of the Chinese New Year celebration each year. The Lunar New Year was late in 2011, so February numbers were strong and U.S. imports in March 2011 were weak. This year, the celebration, during which Asian factories close for a week or two, was early, so imports in February were weak, but imports in March were strong.
Exports increased 2 percent in March year-over-year. U.S. exports have been consistently strong the past two years.
In year-to-date performance, West Coast ports are running slightly ahead of last year. Total container volume January through March is up 2 percent. Imports are up 1 percent, and exports increased 3 percent.
West Coast ports handle about one-half of all containers moving through U.S. ports.