Container Traffic Still Not a Pretty Picture in July 2011

In July 2011 import containers have contracted year-over-year, while exports grew “less good” year-over-year.

  • 16 months straight growth for imports until June 2011 – now there has been two months of year-over-year contraction; and,
  • One of the best green shoots of the USA post-recession economy was exports.  Up through April 2011 – 6 of the previous 7 months were records.  Beginning in May 2011, each month’s year-over-year improvement has been “less good”.

Econintersect considers import and exports a significant elements in determining economic growth.  On a month-over-month basis, exports increased 2.3% (exports did not contract as much in July as June 2011), while exports declined 0.05%.  Year-over-year imports were down 2.1%, while exports were up 7.4%.

So far in June 2011:

The Ports of LA and Long Beach account for much of the container movement into and out of the United States.  And these two ports report their data significantly earlier than other USA ports.  Most of the manufactured goods move between countries in sea containers (except larger rolling items such as automobiles).  This pulse point is an early indicator of the health of the economy.

Containers come in many sizes so a uniform method is expressing the volume of containers is  TEU – which is the volume of a standard 20 foot long sea container.  So a standard 40 foot container would be 2 TEU.

The transports are saying the economy is barely making headway, however – there are no recessionary signs in the data.  Imports and exports act like an ETF ultra fund – magnifying economic contractions and expansions.

Related Articles:

Diesel Index Says Economy Declined in July 2011 by Steven Hansen

July 2011 Rail Counts Show Slowing Economy In Months to Come by Steven Hansen

Trucking Tonnage Up in June 2011 by GEI News