The first month of year continued last year’s trends at the county’s two ports, with the Port of Los Angeles again seeing gains and the Port of Long Beach down slightly.

Officials at the Los Angeles facility, which is the nation’s largest container port, attributed some of the growth to a jump in movement of cargo prior to the start of the Chinese New Year on Jan. 23. Chinese factories often close for up to two weeks after the start of the holiday.

For the month of January, the port showed gains in all categories compared with same month last year. Imports increased 5.3 percent and exports were up 5.9 percent. Total container volume, including empties and all loaded containers, rose 5.8 percent to 698,715 containers.

It was a different picture at the Port of Long Beach, which lost a major shipping tenant in late 2010 to the Los Angeles port.

For the month of January, imports dropped 5.5 percent and exports fell 8.2 percent. Total container volume was down 3.9 percent to 456,424 containers. The port in its press release also referenced the Chinese New Year, but argued that a decline in imports at its facility reflects continued caution in the U.S. retail sector.