Port Traffic Metrics: Caribbean/Latin America, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland
Container port traffic in Latin America and the Caribbean totaled 47. 5 million TEUs in 2016, according ECLAC – the Economic Commission for the Caribbean and Latin America, a United Nations agency based in Santiago de Chile. That was down 0.9 percent from 2015 and continued the negative trend of the past five years.
As reported in ECLAC’s Maritime and Logistics Profile, last year’s performance was powerfully affected by container traffic declines from 2015 in five countries: Brazil (-4.4 percent), Panama (-9.1 percent), Colombia (-3.6 percent), Argentina (-6.1 percent) and The Bahamas (-14.3 percent). Data for Venezuela were unavailable, but almost certainly were negative.
Offsetting volume increases occurred in: Mexico (+3.2 percent), Chile (+4.8 percent), Peru (+8.4 percent), Ecuador (+4.5 percent), the Dominican Republic (+8.3 percent), Guatemala (+8.8 percent), Costa Rica (+7.3 percent) and Uruguay (+9.5 percent).
At the subregional level, east coast South America experienced its second consecutive year of decline, largely due to volume reductions in Brazil and Argentina.
West coast South America, by contrast, container trade rose 4.5 percent, thanks to positive results from Chile (+4.8 percent), Peru (+8.4 percent), and Ecuador (+4.5 percent). Central America went from a 3.4 percent increase in 2015 to a 3.5 percent decline in 2016, mainly because of a steep drop in Panama.
Among the region’s ports, noteworthy performers were Callao in Peru (+8.1 percent in 2016), Guayaquil in Ecuador (+6.9 percent), Caucedo in the Dominican Republic (11.1 percent), and San Antonio (+10.0 percent) and Lirquén (+60.1 percent) in Chile.
Declines were posted by Buenos Aires in Argentina (-5.7 percent), Kingston in Jamaica (-5.2 percent), Freeport in The Bahamas (-14.3 percent), Santos in Brazil (-6.9 percent), Cartagena in Colombia (-4.0 percent), and Colón (-8.9 percent) and Balboa (-9.2 percent) in Panama.
Overall, the top 40 ports accounted for 90 percent of the region’s 2016 container trade.
Long Beach Port Sees Busiest May Ever
New vessel-sharing alliances and increased use of terminals boosted traffic flows and gave the Port of Long Beach its highest May container count ever.
Throughput totaled 648,287 TEUs, an increase of 1.2 percent from May 2016. The port’s previous May record was 644,066 TEUs in 2006.
In detail, this May’s numbers show increases from last year of 1.8 percent for inbound loads, 12.6 percent for empty containers, and a 14.3 percent decline for outbound loads. Overall, it was the Long Beach’s best month since September 2015.
"Last May was a great month, so we're encouraged that we did even better this year," said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. "Our strong belief is that if we continue to build the most modern facilities of any port in the United States and provide the best service, the customers will come."
The year-to-date count of 2,792,681 TEUs was up 4.1 percent from January-May 2016.
"The new alliances are making more efficient use of our terminals with their deployments," said Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán. "Beyond that, the strong U.S. dollar is growing our imports, but not helping our exports. Still, we’re in line with our projections for the year, and the port is in a strong position as we head into the peak season."
The latest monthly cargo numbers can be found here. More detailed data are available at www.polb.com/stats.
Los Angeles TEUs set May Record
The Port of Los Angeles reports container throughput this May totaled 796,216 TEUs. That was up 3.4 percent from a year ago and made it the busiest May in the port’s 110-year history. It was also a second straight year of record May volume.
"We continue to see balanced year-over-year growth both on the import and export side of our operations," said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. "With nearly one million jobs -- one in nine jobs in the region -- tied to San Pedro Bay port complex operations, we continue to focus on supply chain efficiency, optimization and sustainability."
The data reflect increases from May 2016 of 3.1 percent for inbound loads, 4.4 percent for outbound loads and 3.1 percent for empty containers. The calendar year total through May rose 8.1 percent to a record 3,751,516 TEUs.
Port of Oakland Container Imports Highest Since 2015
Container imports at the Port of Oakland increased 1.4 percent in May to 82,440 TEUs, the most for any month since August 2015. Imports account for 48 percent of the port’s TEU throughput.
"Our import volume has been up four consecutive months," said John Driscoll, the port’s maritime director. "That’s encouraging as we head into the traditionally busy summer-fall peak season."
Throughput overall - imports, exports and empty containers – during the first five months of 2017 grew 2.1 percent from the year before to a record 978,475 TEUs. That came despite a drop vessel calls, reflecting the growing size of container ships calling the Port of Oakland. Vessels of up to 14,000 TEUs capacity arrive here weekly.
Click here for Oakland port container traffic details.