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Port of Los Angeles Imports Surged in February

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Container volume jumped 30% from February 2014 as trucking companies also see reported accelerating shipping demand

By Erica E. Phillips
March 11, 2016, 1:47 p.m., ET

Logistics and transportation businesses got a healthy bump in February as import volumes through the nation’s largest ports posted records and freight shipments picked up after slowing for several months. But analysts warn the growth may only be temporary.

The Port of Los Angeles handled a February record 372,744 loaded 20-foot containers-worth of imports—a jump of 46.6% from February of last year, when West Coast ports were plagued by congestion as dockworkers completed contract terms with port operating companies after months of negotiations. Exports grew 11% to 146,488 containers.

February’s import volume in Los Angeles also was 30% higher than the same month in 2014—evidence that the strong dollar and steady consumer demand are pulling more goods from abroad. In contrast, loaded export containers at the Port of Los Angeles in February were flat compared with February in 2014. The neighboring Port of Long Beach,the nation’s second-largest container port, reported similar trends in February.

Domestic freight activity also appears to be picking up. The monthly Cass Information Systems Inc. freight index report by showed volume jumped 8.3% from January to February. Spending to ship goods also expanded 6.3%. Compared with last February, however, freight shipments were down 2.6% and expenditures fell 5.1%, according to Cass, which said the first half of 2016 would be “sluggish.”

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