Container volumes at West Coast ports increased 2 percent in September compared to the same month last year, according to numbers published on the website of the Pacific Maritime Association.
Also, both containerized imports and containerized exports were up 2 percent compared to September 2012. The increase in exports was a positive sign, as exports had been down much of the year.
The year-to-date numbers through September show that the total volume of loaded containers at West Coast ports is up 1 percent compared to the first nine months of 2012. Imports increased 2 percent, but exports were down 1 percent.
The California ports have led the way so far this year. The Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex, which accounts for about 70 percent of the West Coast volume, is up 2 percent in total container volume. Oakland is up 3 percent.
Total container volume in Seattle-Tacoma increased 1 percent during the first nine months of the year, with the Pacific Northwest port complex turning positive in September after having been negative much of the year. Portland’s container volume is up 4 percent, although from a much smaller base.
Increasing exports are helping Seattle and Tacoma return to growth. September marks the beginning of the peak season for U.S. containerized exports. Export volumes should increase in the coming months in line with the agricultural harvest, peaking in March.
Imports through September were up 3 percent in Los Angeles-Long Beach, 2 percent in Oakland and 15 percent in Portland. Imports were down 4 percent in Seattle-Tacoma.
The Journal of Commerce