Notes: this data is not seasonally adjusted. There is a very distinct seasonal pattern for imports, but not for exports. LA area ports handle about 40% of the nation’s container port traffic.
The following graph shows the loaded inbound and outbound traffic at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in TEUs (TEUs: 20-foot equivalent units or 20-foot-long cargo container). Although containers tell us nothing about value, container traffic does give us an idea of the volume of goods being exported and imported.
Photo: Calculated Risk
Click image to enlarge.
Loaded inbound traffic was up 15% compared to October 2009.
Loaded outbound traffic was up 12% from October 2009.
For imports, there is a clear seasonal pattern and frequently a double peak – first in late summer, and then in October as retailers build inventory for the holiday season – so this was an unusual decrease in October compared to September.
For exports there is no clear seasonal pattern, and exports increased to just above the level in May. This suggests that the trade deficit with China (and other Asian countries) might have declined slightly in October (seasonally adjusted).