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US port box volume slows in February after red hot 2018

AMERICA's biggest ports were off to a mixed start compared with 2018's record year, showing slower container volume as the economy gradually slows and with US-China trade talks set to resume, reports Transport Topics, of Arlington, Virginia

US port box volume slows in February after red hot 2018

AMERICA's biggest ports were off to a mixed start compared with 2018's record year, showing slower container volume as the economy gradually slows and with US-China trade talks set to resume, reports Transport Topics, of Arlington, Virginia

29 March 2019 - 19:00

AMERICA's biggest ports were off to a mixed start compared with 2018's record year, showing slower container volume as the economy gradually slows and with US-China trade talks set to resume, reports Transport Topics, of Arlington, Virginia.

Los Angeles and Long Beach reported decreases in February. Los Angeles saw a 2.7 per cent year on year decrease, moving 705,306 TEU compared with 725,059 for the same period in 2018.



Long Beach saw its numbers drop 9.8 per cent, to 596,616 TEU from 661,790 a year earlier. Besides the uncertainty over trade negotiations, port officials and economists said there is another reason for the drop-off, especially at the major West Coast ports.



The timing of Chinese New Year February 5-19, caused production in many Asian nations to slow and resulted in some cargo being shipped in January rather than February.



Said EDR Group economist Paul Bingham: 'You get a little bit of a surge before, and a little bit after, but you have that two-week blank sailing period, where the carriers don't even try to put the capacity on, because there is not enough cargo coming out of China during that time.'



Oakland moved 185,685 TEU in February, down 1.3 per cent from 188,175 in 2018. The Northwest Seaport Alliance, which operates ports in Seattle and Tacoma, in February moved 269,199 TEU compared with 279,488 last year.



Despite the February drop, year-to-date container volumes are up 10.9 per cent, in part because of an exceptionally strong January.



The Port of Virginia had a strong February, moving 228,151 TEU compared with 218,727 last year, a 4.3 per cent increase. The South Carolina Ports Authority, which operates the Port of Charleston, reported a 5.7 per cent year-on-year increase, lifting 178,131 TEU in February, compared with 168,480 in the 2018 period.



The Port of Savannah set an all-time record in January by moving 430,071 TEU that month. February, however, saw a significant drop-off to 312,042 TEU, compared with 341,094 in 2018. Still, for the first two months, that facility is running far ahead of the record pace set in 2018.


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