Over the course of 2013, American Shipper
will bring you a view of six containerized import regions in the United States based on data supplied by the trade intelligence firm Zepol Corp.
The regions to be profiled bimonthly are: the Pacific Southwest, Bay Area, Pacific Northwest, Gulf Coast, South Atlantic, and North Atlantic. The reports will include a picture of those regions biggest imports by liner carriers, non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOs), origin country, and product type. The figures are calculated on the most recent 12-month period.
In this installment, we’ll examine the Pacific Southwest region, which includes the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The two neighboring ports not only comprise the biggest container gateway in the country, by far, but individually are the two busiest container ports in the Western Hemisphere. The figures stated are from February 2012 through January 2013, unless otherwise stated.
The two ports saw their collective inbound volume drop slightly in the last calendar year, from 7.2 million TEUs in 2011 to 7.1 million in 2012, though volume in January was significantly higher than in either of the past two Januarys. Some of that growth, particularly against 2012, is due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, which occurred in January 2012 but not until February in 2013.
The top five liner carriers into Southern California, in terms of inbound volume, are Maersk Line, APL, Mediterranean Shipping Co., Hanjin Shipping, and Evergreen Line. But the transpacific market (from which the two ports derive the lion’s share of their cargo) is quite fragmented and fiercely competitive.
In terms of market share, there’s little separation between Maersk at 11.1 percent, and Yang Ming, the 10th largest carrier into the region at 4.8 percent. That share includes NVOs.
The figures from Zepol also show how much volume power liner carriers have over their NVO counterparts. Far and away the largest inbound NVO to Southern California is Expeditors International
, but its volume to the two ports is barely half that of Yang Ming, which again has the 10th largest volume among liner carriers into the region.
And Expeditors has had nearly 75 percent more volume into the region over the past 12 months than its nearest pursuer, Phoenix International, which was acquired last year by the truck brokerage and third party logistics provider C.H. Robinson.
Volume into Southern California among the top NVOs starts dropping off steeply after Expeditors, and the market is even more fragmented than the liner carrier market. After Expeditors and Phoenix are Apex Shipping Co., Blue Anchor Line (subsidiary of Kuehne + Nagel) and Danmar Lines (subsidiary of DHL).
China is far and away the largest origin for Southern California-destined volume. Nearly 62 percent of total inbound loaded volume into the two ports (more than 4.4 million TEUs) originated in China. For context, the rest of the top five origins (South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan) contributed between 384,000 and 267,000 TEUs of volume.
According to Zepol, the top product categories imported into Los Angeles and Long Beach in 2012 in terms of value were oil, passenger cars, and printers/copy machines. - Eric Johnson