Box traffic up 15% at L.A.-Long Beach ports despite congestion
Total container traffic at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach increased 15 percent to 1.2 million TEUs in November, despite the congestion that ended in the second half of that month.
The 15-percent year-on-year growth was shared unevenly between Los Angeles and Long Beach, with the latter continuing to gain market share. Los Angeles reported that its total box traffic for November, including full and empty containers, was 630,392 TEUs, virtually the same as the 627,787 TEUs moved in November 2003. By contrast, the port of Long Beach boosted its total box traffic 37 percent in November, to 582,614 TEUs.
The number of loaded inbound containers at Los Angeles for November was 335,855 TEUs, virtually unchanged from the 334,215 TEUs handled in November 2003. Loaded inbound boxes at neighboring Long Beach soared 37 percent to 295,717 TEUs, from 216,379 TEUs a year earlier. The two ports’ combined inbound loaded traffic rose 15 percent to 631,572 TEUs in November.
The number of loaded outbound boxes that crossed the docks of Los Angeles decreased 9 percent to 90,283 TEUs in November. Over the same period, Long Beach’s volume of loaded outbound containers soared 21 percent to 99,436 TEUs, exceeding the level of Los Angeles.
The two ports continued to report an increasing proportion of empty containers handled. On average, empty boxes accounted for 32 percent of total port traffic in November, as compared to 30 percent in November of 2003. Los Angeles saw its traffic of empty containers rise 5 percent to 204,254 TEUs in November, while Long Beach increased its empty container volume 49 percent to 187,461 TEUs. Their combined empty container traffic rose 22 percent to 391,715 TEUs in November.
The higher-than-proportional increase in the traffic of empty containers reflects the growing eastbound-westbound imbalance of the transpacific trade in particular, as an increasing number of containers have to be returned empty back to Asia. Recent statistics show that westbound loaded traffic from the all of the U.S. to Asia in 2004 represented only about 35 percent of the loaded eastbound cargo volumes from Asia to the U.S.