Imports into the Port of Los Angeles were up 32 percent last month, compared to June 2009, and exports also finished strong, up about 12 percent over the same period last year.
In addition, the Port of Los Angeles website reports that for June 2010:
The overall trade environment strengthened.
Empty containers were up 53 percent. Overall up by 32 percent for month of June. YTD up 15 percent.
Vessel services were upsized to handle the surge of volume.
Carriers are bringing back peak season services six more vessel arrivals over June 2009.
Vessels are arriving close to full capacity.
Large amount of empty container returns to Asia as a result of higher import volumes and to replenish the shortage of empty equipment in Asia.
While these headlines from the Port of Los Angeles are certainly encouraging, I suppose the one question we all want the answer to is this: Will this upward trend persist?
Just last week, other economic reports revealed that both consumer spending and manufacturing activity lost momentum last month, indicating a weakening recovery. In particular, factory output fell off in June, suffering its sharpest monthly drop in a year.
Most analysts that I'm hearing seem to agree with Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist for IHS Global Insight, who was quoted in a recent AP article. Bethune acknowledges that the "healing process from a severe recession is still under way," but that it's unlikely we're going to bounce back on a sustained basis quickly.
Once again, taken altogether, the economic data is quite a mixed bag, suggesting that finding our way out of the downturn is going to be bumpy, at best.