by Bill McBride on 12/18/2014 01:03:00 PM
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Note: West coast ports were impacted by a trucker strike in November, and ongoing labor negotiations (and some slowdown). The trucker strike ended after 9 days on November 22nd.
Container traffic gives us an idea about the volume of goods being exported and imported - and possibly some hints about the trade report for November since LA area ports handle about 40% of the nation's container port traffic.
The following graphs are for inbound and outbound traffic at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in TEUs (TEUs: 20-foot equivalent units or 20-foot-long cargo container).
To remove the strong seasonal component for inbound traffic, the first graph shows the rolling 12 month average.
Click on graph for larger image.
On a rolling 12 month basis, inbound traffic was down 0.2% compared to the rolling 12 months ending in Octrober. Outbound traffic was down 1.4% compared to 12 months ending in October.
Inbound traffic has been increasing, and outbound traffic has been mostly moving sideways.
The 2nd graph is the monthly data (with a strong seasonal pattern for imports).
Usually imports peak in the July to October period as retailers import goods for the Christmas holiday, and then decline sharply and bottom in February or March (depending on the timing of the Chinese New Year).
Imports were down 2% year-over-year in November, exports were down 15% year-over-year.
Exports suggest a slowdown in Asia, but import traffic was decent considering the strike and labor negotiations.