by Calculated Risk on 9/19/2023 01:32:00 PM
Notes: The expansion to the Panama Canal was completed in 2016 (As I noted several years ago), and some of the traffic that used the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is probably going through the canal. This might be impacting TEUs on the West Coast.
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.
To remove the strong seasonal component for inbound traffic, the first graph shows the rolling 12-month average.
On a rolling 12-month basis, inbound traffic decreased 0.4% in August compared to the rolling 12 months ending in July. Outbound traffic decreased 0.2% compared to the rolling 12 months ending the previous month.
Usually 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.
Imports were down 4% YoY in August, and exports were down 2% YoY. The next couple of months should see some pickup in imports as retailers stock up for the holidays.
The volume of containers unloaded in 2021 and 2022 was much stronger than normal because of all the ships waiting to unload due to the pandemic.