Source: Port of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles / Long Beach port cluster is the most important center of container port activity in the Americas. As of 2019, they jointly handled more than 16.9 million TEU, of which 9.3 million were accounted by Los Angeles. Like many North American container ports, the Port of Los Angeles has the following characteristics:
- Imbalanced flows. As a reflection of negative trade balances maintained by the United States, particularly over the Pacific Trade, the amount of inbound loaded containers far exceeds outbound loaded containers. There are about 2.5 to 2.7 times more inbound containers than outbound containers.
- Seasonality. The consumption of retail goods has a substantial impact on container port volumes. Retail cycles result in peak periods of activity between August to November and low periods of activity between February and March.
- Economic cycles. During periods of recession the level of port activity declines, such as for the financial crisis of 2008-09.