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California

Port of L.A. Claims Partial Victory Over Long Beach

Trade: In record February for both sites, L.A. again handled more containers, but rival led in imports, exports.

March 21, 2000|STEPHEN GREGORY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

For the second time in as many months, the Port of Los Angeles handled more cargo containers in February than the neighboring Port of Long Beach, challenging that facility's title as the nation's busiest commercial sea harbor.

Last month's cargo figures, however, literally proved a hollow victory for Los Angeles. The port beat rival Long Beach in only a single category: the number of empty inbound and outbound 20-foot cargo containers handled. It was enough, though, to give the Los Angeles port a roughly 1,700-container edge over Long Beach, with a total of nearly 337,000 containers compared with just over 335,000.

Still, Long Beach handled higher volumes of imports and exports: 177,362 and 81,893 containers, respectively--roughly 6% and 7% more than Los Angeles.

The rivalry aside, both ports took in record cargo for a February, and both continue to benefit from robust economic conditions in the United States and from rebounding economies in Asia, particularly in China and South Korea. With seven new trans-Pacific services launching last year at Los Angeles, the port saw double-digit growth in both inbound and outbound cargo in each of the last two months. Import growth, in fact, topped 40% in January and hit 25% last month. February imports at Long Beach grew a modest 3%.

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