SoCal ports see major declines in vessel activity for Jan./Feb
The Southern California ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles experienced an 11 percent drop in cargo vessel calls during the first two months of 2008, with decreases affecting nearly all vessel categories.
Declines ranged from 4.7 percent for container vessels to 83.4 percent for repair vessels.
Total vessel calls at the two ports during January and February declined to 878, a loss of 100 vessel calls over the same period in 2007.
As reported by the Marine Exchange of Southern California, which tracks vessel activity at the two ports, the declines at the Los Angeles-Long Beach harbor for January and February were: barges (down 17 percent), dry bulk (12.5 percent), bunker (33 percent), containerships (4.7 percent), general cargo (32.6 percent), other (23.6 percent), refrigerated (33.3 percent), repair (83.4 percent) and tankers (18.6 percent).
The only two vessel categories to record an increase at the two ports during January and February were passenger vessels, up 3.9 percent; and vehicle-carrying vessels, up 14.6 percent over the same period last year. The same number of roll-on/roll-off vessels called at the two ports during January and February compared to the year-ago-period.
A Marine Exchange analysis said March 'appears to be off to a good start, but it far too early to tell if the trend will hold.'
Experts speaking at a West Coast cargo conference last week predicted that a general cargo slowdown would continue through the second quarter, with expectations of increases during the third and fourth quarters of 2008.
The Marine Exchange analysis, while making clear that it is still too early in the current year to make a long-term forecasts, concludes that 'As the USA appears to be heading for an outright recession — and some say we're 'already there' — we can expect more of this decline as 2008 unfolds, and down from the strong numbers of vessel arrivals we've seen in recent years.'