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LA and Long Beach ports on growth spurt

Spurred by demand from developing countries like China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, exports at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are on track to approach the records set before the global recession, newly released figures showed, according to Xinhua news.

Through October, the L.A. and Long Beach ports have moved 2.8 million export-carrying cargo containers, up 20% from the same period last year, according to figures published on Friday by The Los Angeles Times on its website.

If that pace continues through the end of the year, the two ports will handle about 3.4 million containers, which would rank second only to the 3.5 million moved in 2008, the report said, quoting figures from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. (LACEDC) which focuses on international trade.

The increase in exports was mainly driven by growing demand from new middle-class consumers in China, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries, said Ferdinando Guerra, an associate economist at LACEDC.

"The middle class in these countries have begun to thrive," Guerra said. "Their countries are not really in recovery because they did not suffer as much as we did in the recession and their consumers are in a much better position overall."

Imports are growing rapidly too, but both ports will fall well short of their 2007 best, according to the report.

Meanwhile, air freight exports through the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) peaked at 457,899 U.S. tonnes in 2007, but the pace this year is running nearly 4% ahead of that, the report said, citing figures from Beacon Economics, a consulting firm. More at