Incoming traffic at the Port of Los Angeles fell sharply year-on-year in February

To Estimated risk per 17.03.2023 15:16:00

Notes: The Panama Canal expansion was completed in 2016 (as I noticed a few years ago), and some of the traffic that used the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is likely to pass through the channel. This could affect TEUs on the west coast.

Container shipping gives us an idea of ​​the volume of goods exported and imported, as well as usually some hints on the trade report, since the ports of Los Angeles handle about 40% of container shipping in the country’s ports.

The following graphs refer to incoming and outgoing traffic on ports Los Angeles And long beach in TEUs (TEUs: 20-foot equivalents or 20-foot freight containers).

To eliminate strong seasonality for incoming traffic, the first graph shows a 12-month moving average.

Traffic in the Port of Los AngelesClick on the graph to enlarge the image.

On a rolling 12-month basis, incoming traffic was down 3.4% in February compared to the rolling 12-months ending in January. Outbound traffic was down 0.8% compared to the rolling 12 months ending the previous month.

Chart 2 is monthly data (with a strong seasonality of imports).

Traffic in the Port of Los AngelesImports typically peak between July and October as retailers import goods around the Christmas holidays, then drop sharply and bottom out in February or March, depending on the time of the Chinese New Year.

In February, imports decreased by 38% y/y, while exports decreased by 9% y/y. The volume of containers unloaded last year was much higher due to all the ships waiting to be unloaded.

Exports may have bottomed out after declining for several years (even before the pandemic).