Container volumes at West Coast ports inched up in August, with imports increasing slightly and exports decreasing a bit.
Total container volume increased 1 percent in August compared to the same month last year, according to data published by the Pacific Maritime Association.
Imports increased 2 percent, possibly reflecting a diversion of cargo from East and Gulf Coast ports. Importers, concerned about the possibility of a strike or employer lockout due to an impasse in International Longshoremen’s Association contract negotiations, diverted some peak-season cargo through the West Coast over the summer.
However, negotiators for the ILA and the United States Maritime Alliance announced on Sept. 20 that the existing contract, which was scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, had been extended for 90 days until Dec. 29.
Reports for September into October could show additional cargo was diverted to West Coast ports, although the diversion could trail off in November. Containerized exports at West Coast ports in August declined 1 percent from August 2011. U.S. export growth has slowed this year because of the economic recession in Europe and slowing growth in Asia.
Total import and export container volume at West Coast ports year-to-date through August is up 2 percent compared to the same period last year.
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at email@example.com.