Wednesday, January 21, 2015

LA area Port Traffic in December

by Bill McBride on 1/21/2015 04:06:00 PM

Note: LA area ports were impacted by a trucker strike in November, and there are ongoing labor negotiations (and some slowdown).

Container traffic gives us an idea about the volume of goods being exported and imported - and possibly some hints about the trade report for December 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.

LA Area Port TrafficClick on graph for larger image.

On a rolling 12 month basis, inbound traffic was unchanged compared to the rolling 12 months ending in November.   Outbound traffic was down 1.0% compared to 12 months ending in November.

Inbound traffic has been increasing, and outbound traffic has been mostly moving sideways (down a little recently).

The 2nd graph is the monthly data (with a strong seasonal pattern for imports).

LA Area Port TrafficUsually 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 unchanged year-over-year in December, exports were down 11% year-over-year.

Exports suggest a slowdown in Asia, but import traffic was decent considering the ongoing labor negotiations.  Hopefully the negotiations will be settled soon.