Container volumes at West Coast ports edged up 1 percent in May compared to May 2012, according to statistics published on the Pacific Maritime Association’s Web site.
Nevertheless, May was the busiest month of the year so far. With the trend line moving upward as the peak-shipping season approaches, growth in container traffic should accelerate into the autumn months.
About half of the U.S. container volume moves through West Coast ports, and half moves through East and Gulf Coast ports.
Container volumes at West Coast ports edged up 1 percent during the first five months of 2013. Imports increased 3 percent, while exports declined 1 percent January through May.
Washington ports have outperformed other West Coast ports this year. Container volumes at Seattle-Tacoma increased 3 percent in May and 3 percent in the January-through-May period.
Container volumes at the Southern California port complex of Los Angeles-Long Beach increased 1 percent in May and 2 percent January through May. Container volumes in Oakland also increased 1 percent in May and 2 percent in January through May period.
Portland, Ore., has struggled most of the year. Container volumes were down 13 percent in May and 15 percent in the January-May period.
U.S. exports have been under pressure all year because of the economic recession in Europe and slower-than-usual growth in China. Imports are performing better because of to slow but steady growth in the U.S. economy.