July shipments of loaded outbound containers increased at the Port of Long Beach, but fell at the Port of Los Angeles. After a strong rebound early last year, both ports have seen an irregular upward trend in outbound container shipments that appears consistent with the gains in goods exports (blue line in the above chart). Data from the past few months seems to show somewhat of a slowdown in activity, consistent with slower growth reported for second quarter GDP and a slowdown in export activity in general.
Meanwhile, though export growth seemed rather lackluster in recent months, both ports reported a surge in import activity in July. Total container traffic at Long Beach rose a very impressive 36% from July of last year, while Los Angeles reported a 27% gain. Taken together, I see this news as supportive of the view that the U.S. economy continues to grow.
A surge in Asian imports in July boosted container traffic through the Port of Los Angeles, the largest in the U.S., to its highest level in almost two years.
Los Angeles reported its strongest month since August 2008 as imports climbed 21%. Nearby Long Beach had its busiest month since October 2008 as imports rose 33%. Both ports account for around 40% of U.S. inbound container traffic.