By Karen Robes Meeks, September 16, 2013
The container yard at the Long Beach Container Terminal in Port of Long Beach (Calif.)
As retailers prepare for the holiday shopping season, goods movement
in August at the Port of Long Beach posted its busiest month in six
years, according to figures released Monday.
The Long Beach port
moved 630,292 container units in August, a 16 percent spike from the
same time a year ago. Imports rose 19.2 percent to 327,817 units, while
exports jumped 20.2 percent to 154,118 units. Empty containers shipped
overseas to be replenished with goods, went up 5.8 percent to 148,357
The port — which has been seeing bigger ships coming in
thanks to two of the world’s largest shippers expanding there — is
having its busiest month since October 2007. Switzerland-based
Mediterranean Shipping Co. and France-based CMA CGM recently decided to
make the Port of Long Beach their West Coast hub.
Meanwhile, cargo movement at the Port of Los Angeles remained
even last month, with overall goods flow up 0.4 percent with 709,675
units when compared to August 2012. The flow of imports in Los Angeles
dipped 1.41 percent to 355,682 units last month while exports fell by
3.84 percent to 158,484 units. Empties, however, were up 7.96 percent in
The Los Angeles port’s numbers have been stabilizing
after five months of declines after Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA
CGM transferred their business from Los Angeles to Long Beach. It’s the
second straight month that the nation’s busiest seaport moved more than
Art Wong, spokesman at the Port of Long Beach, said he is
encouraged by the numbers at both ports, which may signal a better than
“It’s a good sign,” he said.
Nationally, retail imports continue to show incremental improvement,although there’s reason to be optimistic, industry watchers said.
the economy continues to slowly improve, retailers are stocking up for
their most important sales season of the year,” said Jonathan Gold,
National Retail Federation vice president for supply chain and customs
“Merchants have been very cautious so far this year, but our
forecasts show that they plan to make up for it in the next few months.”
To prepare themselves for the holiday shopping seasons, retailers traditionally begin receiving shipments of goods from August to October.