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Summer Business Heating Up at L.A., Long Beach Ports

Shipping: Both facilities reported double-digit growth in imports and exports for July over year-ago figures.

August 18, 2000|STEPHEN GREGORY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach each posted double-digit growth in imports and exports in July as domestic shipments in retail goods surged and Asian manufacturers stepped up demand for U.S. raw materials, officials at the ports said Thursday.

Los Angeles took in nearly 233,000 inbound cargo containers, marking a 31.9% jump over a year ago and posting a new monthly import record.

July through October are typically the busiest months for the ports, as U.S. retailers stock up on manufactured clothing and other goods for the back-to-school and Christmas shopping seasons.

"We attribute our performance to a solid U.S. economy and a strong consumer appetite for merchandise," said port Executive Director Larry Keller.

For its part, Long Beach handled roughly 225,000 import containers, itself a monthly import record and an increase of 19.2% over July 1999. Most inbound cargo pouring through the ports are finished consumer goods, roughly half of which stay in Southern California.

On the export side, Long Beach shipped nearly 87,000 outbound containers, a 17.2% increase, while Los Angeles moved close to 81,000, a surge of 21.7%. Most exports leaving the neighboring harbors consist of raw materials such as cotton and recyclable scrap paper.

Los Angeles has posted sizable growth in imports and exports every month this year in large part because of new ships that began calling on the port late last year. The facility processed a record 440,731 20-foot containers--inbound and outbound--in July, nearly 31,000 more than Long Beach. Most of that difference, however, came in the form of empty containers that were sent back to Asia to be loaded with more U.S.-bound goods.

The 409,979 total containers handled by Long Beach in July were a also a record, and port trade analyst Matt Plezia believes August could be even stronger. "August and September are usually bigger than July, so it'll be interesting to see what happens," he said.

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