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News Details

Record Imports in December; Overall Cargo Up

Trade volumes close strong after slow start in 2012

January 17, 2013

Cargo volumes at the Port of Long Beach climbed last month thanks to the busiest-ever December for containerized imports, which rose 18.9 percent over the same period a year ago.

Port terminals handled a total of 560,120 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) overall, an increase of 9.8 percent from December 2011.

A busy December is not typical, as shippers use this time of year to import goods for the slower winter and spring retail seasons. But December 2012 capped a surge that made up for the year's lackluster start, ending in a virtual tie with 2011.

The rise in container traffic came as more ocean carriers added services to Long Beach in recent months, including CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Co., two of the world's largest container shipping companies.

"Business at the Port of Long Beach is clearly on the upswing as the economy strengthens and international trade continues to support hundreds of thousands of jobs in Southern California alone," said J. Christopher Lytle, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach.

Import container traffic rose to 295,579 TEUs, up from 248,603 in December 2011. Exports rose 4.9 percent to 135,561 TEUs for the month. Empty containers slowed 2.4 percent to 128,980 TEUs. With imports exceeding exports, empty containers are sent overseas to be refilled with goods.

For all 12 months of 2012, the Port moved a total of 6.05 million TEUs, down 0.3 percent from 2011. Imports were up 1.2 percent to 3.06 million TEUs. Exports were up 2.2 percent to 1.54 million TEUs. And empties were down 5.6 percent to 1.44 million TEUs.

The Port of Long Beach continues to invest long term. It is two years into a decade-long, $4.5 billion program to upgrade its facilities.

For the latest monthly cargo numbers click here.

For more details on the cargo numbers visit www.polb.com/stats.

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