Trucks carry imports that had arrived earlier in the day at the Port of Los… (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles…)
The nation's busiest seaport complex had a down month for cargo statistics in February compared with a year earlier, but officials blamed it in part on an early Chinese New Year's celebration that idled factories in that nation.
Combined, for example, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach moved a total of 445,835 cargo containers carrying imported goods last month. That was a decline of 12.5% from a year earlier.
Chinese factories traditionally close for the celebration for a week of more, said Art Wong, a spokesman for the Long Beach port. This year, the Chinese New Year began in late January, putting the entire slowdown period in February, Wong said. In 2011, the Chinese holiday began a week and a half later, putting some of the slowdown in March.
The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports rely heavily on the so-called transpacific cargo trade between Asia (mostly China) for their traffic. Other ports, particularly on the East Coast, have more balanced trade with Europe and Central and South America than either Los Angeles or Long Beach.
Los Angeles, the nation's busiest container port, handled a total of 525,653 containers in
February, down about 5.3% from 554,913 a year earlier. Long Beach, which ranks second to Los Angeles in container trade, moved 388,589 containers last month, down 15.2% compared with a year earlier.
Both ports fared better in exports in February. Los Angeles' exports increased by 9.56% compared with a year earlier. That marked 21 consecutive months of export growth for the port. Long Beach exports declined by just 1.58% in February.
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