The Port of Los Angeles, California saw almost double the number of container shipments in March. What’s the reason for this 34 percent increase that resulted in 503,168 container units? Read on to find out what natural events and market changes prompted the recent increase.
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Wintery U.S. Weather
Weather may have been a factor for the slight slowdown in the months prior to March as major shipping lines were suspended in the U.S. due to icy conditions in the Midwest and Eastern regions. Although, the Port of Los Angeles did see lower container numbers prior to March, the Port of Long Beach was primarily impacted and, in fact, saw its numbers drop in March (477,209 container units).
The inclement weather worked against the U.S. economy as a whole. According to Reuters, “The U.S. economy barely grew in the first quarter as the severe winter hampered exports and led businesses to curtail investment spending, but activity already appears to be bouncing back.”
Trade Relations Between the U.S. and Asia
Naturally, California shares the Pacific with Asia, making it a central hub for shipments. That’s why it’s no surprise that when Asian manufacturing increases, so do the number of Port of Los Angeles container units.
Chinese manufacturing is on the rise – however, slowly – and its exports continue to creep up the index too. Any market fluctuations that take place within the country (a global manufacturing juggernaut) would likely affect the port, and it’s possible that’s what we saw in March.
In addition to the activity in China, economists note that Japan experienced an uptick in its imports in March, as well. Japan follows China as one of the top Asian-U.S. trade partners. Japan is fourth in overall trade with the U.S.
The Post-Holiday Season
The trade established relationship between California and China becomes clearer during the holidays. More specifically, the Chinese New Year meant that many factories temporarily closed for the festivities, which in turn impacted shipments to the port in both January and February.
It’s possible that the multi-week break led some companies to work extra hard to ramp up their production post-holiday. The Port of Los Angeles benefited as a result.
A Boost in U.S. Manufacturing Overall
Many ports saw increased deliveries as manufacturing increased across the U.S., according to Institute for Supply Management’s index. This national boom in production inevitably led to an increased need for distribution to ports across the county, as exports continued to climb.
Bloomberg News reports, “The pickup in sales and production is driving the movement of goods. Railroad traffic, including carloads and intermodal units, climbed 3.1 percent in the first 15 weeks of this year from the same period in 2013, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.”
Despite the recent container shipment pickup, the Port of Los Angeles is consistently one of the most high-traffic trade hubs in U.S.
We want to hear from you. How were your deliveries affected by these factors, and how did you change your shipping routes in response? Share your thoughts in the comments below. [/show_to]
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