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Port of Long Beach: Weak economy slows container trade in January

The New Year is starting off much like the last with economic sluggishness in the US and the Far East slowing container cargo shipments at the Port of Long Beach. Shipping terminals at the port moved the equivalent of 344,645 TEU in January, a 2.8% decline from January 2001. "The winter season is typically our slowest quarter," said port Executive Director Richard Steinke. "The January numbers indicate that the US economy remains weak and that the sharp rise in the value of the dollar is hurting US exports." Both imports and exports declined in January. Imported container cargo fell 7.3% to 180,528 TEU, a sign of weak consumer spending. The port's leading imports include electronics, clothing, toys and shoes.

Exported container cargo decreased 8% to 70,944 TEUs. The port's leading exports include factory equipment and raw materials such as plastics, chemicals and cotton. The number of empty containers shipped through the port jumped 12.8% to 93,173 TEUs. Nearly all of the empty containers were shipped overseas to be refilled with cargo that is then shipped back to the United States. General cargo is shipped in steel containers of various sizes and standard measure for container cargo is the twenty-foot-long container or the twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU).

The Port of Long Beach (www.polb.com) is one of the world's busiest container cargo seaports, a leading gateway between the US and Asia. More than US$95bn in trade moved through the port in 2001.

Port of Long Beach
Container Traffic (TEUs*)

LOADED
Inbound
Outbound
TOTAL
LOADED
TOTAL
EMPTIES
TOTAL
CONTAINERS
Jan-02
180,528
70,944
251,472
93,173
344,645
Jan-01
194,738
77,073
271,811
82,622
354,433
% change
-7.3%
-8.0%
-7.5%
12.8%
-2.8%
Oct-01
238,185
82,255
320,440
114,428
434,868
Nov-01
193,860
75,879
269,740
102,345
372,085
Dec-01
191,584
83,660
275,244
84,299
359,543
Jan-02
180,528
70,944
251,472
93,173
344,645
Oct '01-Jan '02
804,158
312,738
1,116,896
394,245
1,511,141
Oct '00-Jan '01
823,953
335,721
1,159,674
389,986
1,549,660
% change
-2.4%
-6.8%
-3.7%
1.1%
-2.5%
* TEUs: 20ft equivalent units or 20ft-long cargo container