Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A., Long Beach Ports Report Improved June

By James Rufus Koren Originally published July 16, 2012 at 1:20 p.m., updated July 16, 2012 at 4:30 p.m.

Cargo volumes at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach rose in June, though the two ports continue to see disparate trends.

About 9 percent more cargo containers passed through the Los Angeles port last month than in the same month a year ago, thanks in part to a big increase in the number of empty containers bound for Asia.

The port handled about 697,000 containers, up from 641,000 in June of last year, according to figures released Monday. For the year, cargo volumes at the port are up 6.5 percent.

But at the neighboring Port of Long Beach, despite solid growth of imports and exports, the total container count grew just two-tenths of a percent due to a 10 percent dip in the number of empty containers leaving the port.

Still, any growth is good news for Long Beach, which has seen its cargo numbers drop in most months this year. For the first half of the year, cargo traffic is down 5 percent.

Taken together, the two ports show a relatively flat year so far, with cargo up just 1.4 percent through June. And officials at the Los Angeles port say they don’t expect a big change in the second half of the year.

Port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said June’s numbers, which were down from a record-setting April and May at the Port of L.A., could signal the ports are in for a slower summer and fall.

“It indicates it could be a more muted peak season than initially thought over the past few months,” Sanfield said. “We’re preparing for modest year-over-year growth for the rest of 2012.”