U.S. West Coast ports handled 13.1 million 20-foot-equivalent units or 67.5 percent of the 19.4 million TEUs in U.S. containerized cargo trade with Asian countries in 2012, a decline of 0.3 percent year-over-year and just 0.5 percent above the pre-recession year of 2008.
It’s a stark contrast to the East Coast, whose Asia trade is growing more rapidly — up 2.6 percent last year and 12.1 percent from 2008 — but from a much smaller base. East Coast ports handled 5.9 million TEUs, or 30.2 percent, of the U.S. containerized trade with Asia last year. Gulf Coast ports led the way in growth, surging 16.2 percent in 2012 and 34.7 percent since 2008. But they also account for just 2.4 percent of U.S. containerized trade with Asia.
Altogether, U.S. trade with Asian countries increased 0.9 percent last year and was 4.4 percent above 2008.
The Southern California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach held a combined 64.1 percent share of the U.S. West Coast’s 4.4 million-TEU export market and a combined 77.2 percent of the West Coast’s 8.7 million-TEU import market. Exports through the two ports declined 3 percent last year, but were up 1.5 percent from 2008. Imports dipped 0.2 percent in 2012 and 1.1 percent since 2008.
Port labor on all three coasts played a major role in the results. Cargo diverted to the West Coast ahead of the September expiration of the International Longshoremen’s Association contract with East and Gulf Coast ports failed to offset the impact of a tumultuous eight-day strike in late November and early December by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Office Clerical Unit. ILWU dockworkers honored the OCU action, shutting down 10 of the 14 terminals at Los Angeles-Long Beach for eight days until a tentative contract was reached on Dec. 4.
The top 10 container carriers in the U.S. West Coast export trade with Asia in 2012 carried 76.7 percent of the 4.4 million TEUs. APL led with a 10.2 percent share of the market, followed by Evergreen Line at 9.7 percent, Maersk Line at 9 percent, Hanjin Shipping at 8.3 percent and Hyundai Merchant Marine at 7.7 percent. Further down the list, eighth-ranked “K” Line spiked 26.2 percent year-over-year on a combination of Japan’s recovery from the March 2011 earthquake, a stronger yen and a new service the carrier launched last May with Wan Hai between China and Long Beach. Seventh-ranked Mediterranean Shipping Co., meanwhile, tumbled 12.6 percent.
The top 10 container carriers in the U.S. West Coast import trade with Asian countries in 2012 carried 73.5 percent of the 8.7 million TEUs, with Maersk’s 9.9 percent share leading the market. The Danish carrier was followed by Evergreen with 9.2 percent, Hanjin with 8.9 percent, APL with 8.9 percent and Cosco with 6.9 percent. Eighth-ranked “K” Line spiked 23.5 percent year-over-year and ninth-ranked CMA CGM jumped 23.3 percent, while seventh-ranked Hyundai Merchant Marine dropped 3 percent and fourth-ranked APL slid 2 percent below 2011 results.
Mainland China again was the primary trading partner of the U.S. West Coast ports, accounting for 39.3 percent of the 4.4 million TEUs in coastal exports and 66.1 percent of the 8.7 million TEUs in imports. Japan ranked second in both trade lanes with 16.5 percent of the export trade and 5.9 percent of the import trade. Upstart Vietnam, with 4.2 percent of the trade lane, ranked fifth among import partners, displacing Hong Kong.
Click Image to Enlarge
Click Image to Enlarge