Cargo container volumes declined in February at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as fewer shipments left China during the Lunar New Year celebrations there.
“Businesses in China … close for a week or more to observe the holiday,” the Port of Long Beach said in a statement. “The impact on the port is seen two weeks afterwards, accounting for the time it takes vessels to cross the Pacific.”
The Lunar New Year was Jan. 28 this year, but celebrations can last for a couple of weeks.
The Port of Los Angeles moved 625,000 20-foot equivalent containers (TEUs) last month, 12.4 percent fewer than the almost 714,000 in the same period a year ago, officials said last week. The port received 299,000 full cargo containers, while it exported 155,000 loaded and 171,048 empty containers.
That follows the historic volume of January, the port’s busiest month ever, when it beat the previous January’s record volume with a 17.4 percent jump in cargo containers. Los Angeles also had a record-setting 2016, with almost 8.9 million TEUs, making it the busiest year ever for a Western Hemisphere port.
The Port of Long Beach saw its cargo volume drop 11.2 percent in February year to year to more than 498,000 TEUs, including almost 250,000 inbound, 120,000 outbound loaded and 129,000 outbound empty containers.
That drop came after January delivered the port’s first positive numbers in months as the facility was still reeling from the bankruptcy of one of its largest container carriers, South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co. Inc. Cargo that month was up 6 percent from December and 8 percent from a year earlier, following several months of declines.
– Shwanika Narayan
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