The traditional seasonal dip in freight volumes was absent from the 2004 measures of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of general cargo passing through the Port of Los Angeles, which can make comparisons difficult. That said, the port saw a drop of 23% in loaded, in-bound containers in March 2005, down from 334,547 TEUs to 255,389 TEUs. This could mark the return of the seasonal slowing after the Fall peak, admits Bruce Seaton, interim director of the Port of Los Angeles. That dip was all but absent last year as volumes built in the Fall of 2003 and remained strong through the winter months.
A number of factors contribute to the monthly volumes passing through the port, says Seaton. The timing of the Lunar New Year and other Asian holiday periods affect volumes as plants close in Asia or as companies importing product from Asia stockpile buffer stocks for the plant closings. Looking at the first quarter of the calendar year, the Port of LA saw only a 2.36% drop in total TEUs handled. For the fiscal year to date, the difference was a mere 1.28% drop.
Seaton told Logistics Today that the port had asked its board for a 5% general tariff increase to take effect July 1st. While the board at the Port of Los Angeles considered the increase, Seaton said, his counterpart at the Port of Long Beach was bringing a similar proposal to his board. Contained in the tariff is a one-day reduction in free time for containers and provision for a further reduction in free time the following year (effective July 2006).
For the full story, see Logistics Today’s June issue.