Tuesday, February 14, 2017

LA area Port Traffic "Surges" in January

by Bill McBride on 2/14/2017 02:19:00 PM

From the Port of Long Beach: Port Traffic Surges In January

Renewed activity at the Port of Long Beach’s largest terminal and extra ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year pushed cargo 8.7 percent higher in January compared to the same month a year ago.
...
The month’s total container traffic growth was notable since TEU traffic in January 2016 jumped 25 percent from the same month in 2015.

“It was a tough benchmark, so we’re very happy with the way the new year is starting in Long Beach,” said Board of Harbor Commissioners President Lori Ann Guzmán.
From the Port of Los Angeles: Port of Los Angeles Records Busiest January in Port's 110-Year History
The Port of Los Angeles handled 826,640 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in January 2017, an increase of 17.4 percent compared to January 2016. It was the busiest January in the port’s 110-year history, outpacing last January, which was the previous record for the first month of the year. It was also the second-best month overall for the Port, eclipsed only by last November’s 877,564 TEUs.

"Coming off our best year ever in 2016, it’s very encouraging to keep the momentum going into 2017,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. ...

The January surge is due in part to retail stores replenishing inventories after the holidays, a trend of increased U.S. exports and cargo ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year, when goods from Asia slow down considerably.
Container traffic gives us an idea about the volume of goods being exported and imported - and usually some hints about the trade report 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 up 0.9% compared to the rolling 12 months ending in December.   Outbound traffic was up 1.4% compared to 12 months ending in December.

The downturn in exports in 2015 was probably due to the slowdown in China and the stronger dollar.  Now exports are picking up again,

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).

In general exports have started increasing, and imports have been gradually increasing.