The Port of Long Beach handled slightly less cargo last year than it did in 2010, a result of light holiday shipments and the loss of a cargo terminal operator to the neighboring Port of Los Angeles.

Cargo traffic fell 3.2 percent for the year. The port saw strong growth in the first half of the year, then watched as shipments slumped and the usual pre-holiday boom didn’t materialize.

Port officials have blamed the weak numbers on the loss of terminal operator California United Terminals, which moved to Los Angeles in late 2010 because it expected construction in Long Beach to hamper its operations. The California United terminal accounted for about 10 percent of port cargo operations.

Remaining terminal operators saw an average of 8.1 percent more cargo.

The Los Angeles Port has yet to release its year-end cargo figures, but as of November it was on pace to handle about 1 percent more cargo, meaning total cargo traffic through the twin ports will likely be flat or down slightly.