Industry Experts Expect to Move More Goods Through Port of Long Beach in 2012

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port-of-long-beach container trafficGoods movement industry experts and executives convened Wednesday in downtown Long Beach and said there is a growing sense of optimism for cargo’s upcoming “peak season,” the time of year when international trade traditionally ramps up from mid-summer into fall.

The eighth annual “Pulse of the Ports — Peak Season Forecast” conference hosted by the Port of Long Beach examined the trends and expectations in international trade. An archived webcast of the event is available at

A panel of representatives from across the supply chain told the audience of about 400 people at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach that customers who ship cargo internationally are looking forward to a busier year this year compared to 2011, and that Southern California ports are well prepared with the facilities, labor force and customer service to accommodate the increase.

“Importers are optimistic and they believe sales will increase this year. And they are excited about it,” said Daniel R. Wall, Senior Vice President of Expeditors, a logistics firm.

Meanwhile, exports are supporting the U.S. economic recovery, with overseas purchases of U.S. autos, construction equipment and agricultural products expected to continue to rise, said Walter Kemmsies, Ph.D, Chief Economist for Moffatt & Nichol.

But given the precarious position of economies in Europe and other economic challenges, the optimistic mood of the forecast conference was tempered by concern for regulatory challenges facing the trucking industry and the sense that economic recovery in this country is still a work in progress.

However, the long-term picture for the Port of Long Beach offered hope, given the Port’s access to markets, its reputation for service and its ongoing investment in infrastructure.

Erxin Yao, President of the OOCL (USA) Inc. shipping line, said it’s clear that future success in the ocean transportation business depends on efficient and sustainable freighters that can haul the most cargo at the lowest cost, using fewer resources. OOCL recently agreed to a long-term lease with the Port of Long Beach for the newly renovated Middle Harbor terminal that will be able to handle the largest ships efficiently.

“The Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project will enable us to meet the challenge of the future,” Yao told the audience.

Bruce Wargo, representing a coalition of terminals at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, said, “Terminal operators in both ports are providing superior assets, operational flexibility, and the greatest cargo availability in North America with efficient, environmentally responsible operations that can and will accommodate peak season volumes while planning for superior, world-class futures.”

With 140 shipping lines connecting Long Beach to 217 seaports worldwide, the Port handles trade valued at more than $155 billion each year.

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