Cargo traffic at the Port of Long Beach was down slightly in October from the same month last year, but the numbers were buoyed by huge gains in local exports.

Container traffic through the port dropped 0.9 percent from 2006 to 644,573 containers in October. But the number of cargo containers leaving the port last month surged more than 32 percent from last October to 144,839 units. The gains nearly offset a 4 percent drop in inbound containers and a 14 percent decline in empty containers.

Port experts have attributed the decline in overall container volume to a decline in the U.S. economy and soft expectations among retailers for the holiday shopping season. Exports, meanwhile, have benefited from a decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, which has made American products more price competitive in the global marketplace.

The year-to-date cargo volume at the Port of Long Beach is up 1.1 percent to 6,125,504 containers.

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