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Port Traffic Up Despite Slowing Economy

February 22, 2001|Stephen Gregory

Both of the region's foreign trade seaports posted year-over-year increases in cargo handled in January despite slowing in the U.S. economy.

The Port of Los Angeles, the nation's busiest port, processed nearly 397,000 20-foot cargo containers in January, an 11% increase from a year ago. More than a quarter of those containers, however, were shipped empty to Asia to be filled with consumer goods bound for the United States.

The number of so-called empties in January rose nearly 15%, but exports, considered an indicator of rebounding economic health in Asia, also rose 11.5%. Imports, meanwhile, constituted the lion's share of the port's January cargo take, accounting for more than 201,000 containers, or an 8% increase from a year ago.

The neighboring Port of Long Beach posted a nearly 5% increase in total containers handled, for a total of 354,000 units. Imports increased by 9%, but exports fell by almost 4% to notch the port's third straight month of declining outbound cargo.

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