Container Volumes Rise with the Business Tide at Local Ports

The economy is obviously on the upswing with the local ports being swamped with the largest number of cargo containers they’ve seen since 2007.

The Port of Los Angeles reported that in 2014, cargo-container volumes were up 6 percent over the previous year. Total volumes reached 8.34 million 20-foot containers, which is the third busiest year for the port.

In 2007, the port saw 8.4 million cargo containers crossing the docks and 8.5 million in 2006, a record year.

“The 2014 numbers are an encouraging indication that the national economy continues to improve,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “Beyond that, the second half of the year ushered in a mix of unprecedented challenges due to transformational changes in the shipping-line business. We are working hard to help our customers and supply-chain partners overcome those challenges and urge them to work together with us to find solutions.”

Next door, the Port of Long Beach hasn’t tabulated its complete cargo volume for the year. But for the first 11 months of 2014, it saw cargo-container traffic inch up 1.7 percent to 6.25 million 20-foot containers.

Long Beach’s record year was in 2007, when cargo-container traffic surpassed 7.3 million containers. In 2006, there were 7.29 million containers loaded and unloaded onto ships.

Cargo volumes at the nation’s ports are expected to continue to grow during the first half of this year.

In a study released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, cargo volume at the nation’s major ports is predicted to rise 1.1 percent in January to 1.39 million containers and grow 4.8 percent in February to 1.3 million containers—right before Chinese New Year, which begins Feb. 19.

March through May will see modest gains at the ports surveyed, which include Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland, Calif.; Miami; New York/New Jersey; and Tacoma and Seattle in Washington.