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Despite strike, Port of Los Angeles posts busiest year since 2007

January 15, 2013|By Ronald D. White
  • The container ship Sea Land Comet is unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles after an eight-day strike last month. Despite the strike, the port moved more than 8 million containers last year, the most since 2007.
The container ship Sea Land Comet is unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles after… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

The nation's busiest container seaport shrugged off an eight-day strike and a very slow December to post its third-best year for cargo volume, port officials said.

The Port of Los Angeles handled just 588,154 containers in December, down 9.4% from December 2011.

But over the course of 2012, the port handled just under 8.1 million containers. Those containers carried imports, mostly from Asia, as well as U.S. exports headed overseas and empties that were also headed back across the Pacific.

It was only the third time in the port's 105-year history that dockworkers handled more than 8 million containers in a year.

The mark was reached despite an eight-day strike in late November and early December by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit that shut down seven of the port's eight cargo terminals. The strike also closed half of the neighboring Port of Long Beach's six terminals.

"We’re pleased with 2012 but as we look forward to the next 12 months, we don’t see significant growth in global trade,” said Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the port of Los Angeles.

The port last moved more than 8 million containers in 2007, when it handled 8.4 million containers. The port's record was 8.5 million containers in 2006.

Los Angeles is the only U.S. port to top 8 million containers in a year and is the 16th busiest port worldwide.

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