April was a disappointing month for West Coast ports, with total container volume declining 1 percent from the same month last year.
According to the latest statistics published by the Pacific Maritime Association, containerized imports moving through the West Coast increased 1 percent in April, but exports declined by 3 percent.
Seattle and Tacoma were the only West Coast ports reporting an increase in imports, with containerized imports increasing 6 percent compared to April 2011. Imports declined 5 percent in Portland and Oakland and 1 percent in Los Angeles-Long Beach.
Exports were down 3 percent in Los Angeles-Long Beach in April, 8 percent in Oakland and 2 percent in Seattle-Tacoma, possibly reflecting slowing economies in Asia and Europe. Portland recorded a 31 percent increase in exports in April, although Portland starts from a smaller cargo base.
April’s lackluster performance dragged down year-to-date numbers for West Coast ports. In the first four months of 2012, total container volumes were up 1 percent compared to the same period last year. Imports were up 1 percent through April and exports also increased 1 percent year-to-date compared to 2011.