Loaded Container Volumes up 3.2%,
Containerized Exports Surge 13%

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — January 17, 2008 — For the eighth straight year, the Port of Los Angeles led the nation in container volume during 2007.  Last year, the Port handled 8.4 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), a 1.36 percent dip in total TEU volume but a 3.2 percent increase in loaded TEUs volume over the 2006 calendar year.  Containerized export cargo continued to grow at a record pace in 2007, with a 13 percent increase of loaded outbound containers (184,023 TEUs) and an 11.4 percent decrease in empty containers, or 300,821 fewer containers.  Since 2000, containerized exports have risen 63 percent.  The Port’s export trade includes cotton, waste paper, scrap metal, animal feed, resins, and aircraft and automotive parts.

“On the heels of a 13-percent volume gain in 2006, our volumes started off strong last January and February, but declined from there, and we are not anticipating overall gains in 2008 due to the weak economy and the shipping industry’s focus on increasing Asia-Europe capacity,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. 

L.A. Numbers Reflect U.S. Trend

“With soft consumer spending and the weak U.S. dollar, our 2007 results were on par for the most part with west coast and national volumes, a reminder that ports are a reflection of the economic climate,” added Knatz.  “One example is the housing slump, which correlates into a decline in consumer demand for furniture, which is our largest containerized cargo import.”

In the Trans Pacific trade, shipping lines incurred heavy losses during 2007 due to steep increases in fuel costs over the past 24 months and no fuel surcharge ability to offset those costs.  In the coming years, it’s expected that the shipping lines will continue to invest in the more lucrative Asia-Europe trade, deploying larger ships and more services to support trade between Asia and Europe, the world’s largest consumer market.

Annual container volumes at the Port of Los Angeles have varied since 2000, but the overall average growth has been 10.6 percent since 2000, and forecasted growth figures for the San Pedro Bay Ports is based on a 6-percent average gain year over year.

Critical Priorities in 2008

Despite lackluster container volumes, Knatz noted that 2008 will be a critical year at the San Pedro Bay Ports, with plenty of initiatives on the front-burner.

“We have a lot of project EIRs to keep us busy in 2008, as well as the implementation of the Clean Trucks Program and a push along those lines to get truckers enrolled for their TWIC security credential,” said Knatz.  “We’ll continue to focus on implementing the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, creating a low-sulfur fuel incentive program for ships calling at the Los Angeles-Long Beach complex and constructing more Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) stations for ships to plug into electric power while at berth.  On the land side, our San Pedro and Wilmington Waterfront initiatives will be Priority #1, along with advocating for our fair share of state and federal funding for transportation, environmental and security initiatives.”

As many as 918,000 Southern California jobs -- or one in every eight jobs -- are connected directly or indirectly to Port of Los Angeles operations, cargo trade, or ancillary business and workforce spending.  Construction jobs in particular are expected to grow in the coming years as a number of cargo terminal and waterfront related projects come online.  For example, nearly 3,000 jobs are expected to be created over the next four years – and nearly 5,500 jobs created ultimately -- as part of the TraPac Container Terminal expansion recently approved by the Los Angeles Harbor Commission.

The Port of Los Angeles, also known as “America’s Port,” has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy and the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. A recipient of numerous environmental awards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2007 Clean Air Excellence Award, the Port of Los Angeles is committed to innovating cleaner, greener ways of doing business. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars. The Port of Los Angeles - A cleaner port. A brighter future.