Port of Los Angeles Shipments Jump Most Since 2007

File photo courtesy Port of Los Angeles
File photo courtesy Port of Los Angeles

By Shobhana Chandra and Michelle Jamrisko

April 21 (Bloomberg) — Container shipments through the port of Los Angeles climbed in March by the most in seven years as commerce rebounded after disruptions caused by the Chinese New Year and harsh winter weather in the U.S.

The combined number of loaded and empty 20-foot containers that entered and left Los Angeles increased 34 percent, the most since February 2007, to 675,274 from a year earlier, according to data posted on the port’s Website last week. Shipments in the prior month dropped by the most for any February since 2009.

The pickup at the port of Los Angeles, one of the leading gateways of trade between the U.S. and Asia, in part reflects the timing of multiweek Chinese New Year factory closings and severe weather in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast that disrupted warehousing. A bounceback at retail stores and factories combined with an advance in rail shipments indicate the world’s largest economy is set to gain momentum.

“When we’re moving more stuff within the country and out of the country, it’s a sign conditions are improving,” said Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro Research in New York. While port shipment data can be volatile, “given that other indicators are showing kind of the same thing, I’d be more inclined to think it means something.”

–With assistance from Kristy Scheuble and Ainhoa Goyeneche in Washington.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.