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Rail News: Intermodal

California, Arkansas ports cranked up cargo volume in May

In May, the Port of Los Angeles handled 770,409 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), up 10.9 percent compared with total volume in May 2015.

The high level of cargo activity meant the month was the busiest May in the port’s 109-year history, port officials said in a press release. Loaded imports climbed 15 percent to 400,765 TEUs, loaded exports increased 6.3 percent to 162,487 TEUs and empty container volume rose 7.1 percent to 207,156 TEUs.

“The strong growth both on the import and export side is encouraging as we continue to explore ways to improve supply chain efficiencies,” said Gene Seroka, the port’s executive director.

The Port of Los Angeles marked the busiest May in its 109-year history. Photo: Port of Los Angeles

Nearby, the Port of Long Beach in May registered 640,566 TEUs, up 0.8 percent compared with container volume in May 2015, when docks were still busy catching up after several months of congestion. The dock activity qualified as the second-busiest May in the port’s 105-year history.

Imports inched up 1 percent to 330,639 TEUs, exports increased 2 percent to 138,594 TEUs and empty container volume was flat at 171,333 TEUs on a year-over-year basis. 

“[Our] numbers are in line with trends observed by the National Retail Federation, which reports that inventories remain high for U.S. stores and warehouses, muting demand for oceangoing trade,” port officials said.

Meanwhile, the Port of Little Rock, Ark., handled 73,000 net tons of total barge tonnage and 350,000 net tons of various commodities in May.

Dock activities compared favorably versus the previous year, port officials said in a press release. Cargoes handled included potash, sulfate, triple phosphate, urea, rock and sand, wetcake, bauxite, lightweight aggregate, wire rod coils, aluminum ingots, aluminum tee and sows, scrap and steel coils.

“This material is used by the 40 companies within the Little Rock Port Authority … as well as other companies in Arkansas via the authority’s private railroad that connects to both the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern rail lines,” said Bryan Day, the port’s executive director.

A switching railroad, the Little Rock Port Authority Railroad operates 17 miles of track and interchanges with BNSF Railway Co. and UP. The short line serves the Little Rock Port Industrial Park and the port, which was established in 1959.

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