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Transpac in freefall, Long Beach figures down 40%

Transpac in freefall, Long Beach figures down 40%

Los Angeles: February loaded oceangoing cargoes at the side-by-side ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach fell 36.6 percent from the previous February, the two ports showed in separate reports, seen by Reuters.
The slowdown for February is much more pronounced than it was in January, when the year-on-year decrease in cargo traffic at the two Southern California ports was 18.7 percent.
The ports are the two busiest in the United States, handling more than 40 percent of imported consumer goods.
The two ports showed inbound cargoes down 38.8 percent and outbound cargoes down 32.2 percent in February 2009 from February 2008.
The traffic fell as "consumer sales are down due to high unemployment rates," according to the Port of Los Angeles' report, which was issued last week.
The Long Beach report, issued on Tuesday, showed inbound cargo for February down a whopping 43.3 percent.
"Over the last 20-something years, we haven't had too many declines and surely not on the order we are seeing now," said port spokesman Art Wong.
In the past 20 years, the two ports have seen traffic rising as Asian imports, mainly from China, increased their share of U.S. consumer goods sold.
Container traffic at the two ports is an indicator of retail activity. Most of the imported consumer goods made in China and other Asian countries go through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.
Los Angeles and Long Beach February loaded inbound cargo at 355,934 TEU, down 38.8 percent from 581,676 TEU a year ago.
Outbound February cargoes at the two Southern California ports were 204,376 TEU, down 32.2 percent from 301,402 TEU in February 2008. [18/03/09]

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