“The total number of loaded containers, import containers and empty containers were all down – by 6.7 percent, 15.3 percent and 46.7 percent, respectively.”

Alameda Corridor Numbers Plummet; Diversion Likely Cause
The Cunningham Report
08/31/2008

 

The number of trains running along the Alameda Corridor and the number of containers those trains carried were down by double-digit percentages during the first six months of 2008, according to new figures from the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority.
The numbers speak for themselves:

  • There were 8,033 trains that traveled along the 20-mile cargo expressway the first six months of the year, a decrease of 11.6 percent from the 9,091 during January to June 2007.
  • The number of containers declined 11.2 percent to 1.46 million this year from 1.65 million in the first half of last year.
  • The total number of loaded containers, import containers and empty containers were all down – by 6.7 percent, 15.3 percent and 46.7 percent, respectively.
  • The only increase for the six-month period came in the number of exports through the corridor, which were up 12.9 percent.

“What this does indicate is that there has been a fall-off in terms of the number of trains that are carrying cargo, which represents a loss in discretionary cargo to these ports in the first six months of this year,” ACTA CEO John Doherty told the Long Beach Harbor Commission last week. “Typically we trend exactly as the ports (of Long Beach and Los Angeles) do – if the ports are off three percent a year, the Alameda Corridor is off three percent a year. But the ports are now off 7.7 percent combined … and the Alameda Corridor is off 11 percent. So this is a little indicator that we’re losing discretionary cargo,” he said.

It’s an important indicator.

Everybody knows that shippers have to use the Southern California ports for the cargo destined for Southern California. The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports would have to become outrageously expensive before it would make sense to ship cargo through Oakland or Mexico and truck it to Southern California. But the discretionary cargo – goods headed across the Continental Divide to the American heartland – can be easily diverted to other ports.

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