LA area Port Traffic Decreases YoY in March

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Note: The Chinese New Year boosted inbound traffic in February, and slowed inbound traffic in March this year.

Container traffic gives us an idea about the volume of goods being exported and imported – and usually some hints about the trade report since LA area ports handle about 40% of the nation’s container port traffic.

The following graphs are for inbound and outbound traffic at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in TEUs (TEUs: 20-foot equivalent units or 20-foot-long cargo container).

To remove the strong seasonal component for inbound traffic, the first graph shows the rolling 12 month average.

LA Area Port TrafficClick on graph for larger image.

On a rolling 12 month basis, inbound traffic was down 1.0% compared to the rolling 12 months ending in February.   Outbound traffic was down 0.2% compared to the rolling 12 months ending in February.

The 2nd graph is the monthly data (with a strong seasonal pattern for imports).

LA Area Port TrafficUsually imports peak in the July to October period as retailers import goods for the Christmas holiday, and then decline sharply and bottom in February or March depending on the timing of the Chinese New Year.

Trade has been strong – especially inbound – and setting record volumes most months recently.

In general imports have been increasing, and exports are mostly moving sideways recently.

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