Source: Port Authorities.
Monthly Total Container Traffic at Selected Ports (Jan 2005=100)
Container traffic is subject to seasonal fluctuations. Generally, the peak season is between May and November and the through season is between December and March. Retail cycles are particularly important as sales are more pronounced in the last trimester of the year (e.g. thanksgiving and Christmas). Ports usually handle 8.5 to 9% of their annual traffic during the peak months of August to October and 7 to 8% of their annual traffic during the through months of December to January. This pattern is evident for a major commercial gateway linked with the Pacific trade and having deep hinterland connections such as Los Angeles.
The financial crisis of 2008-2010 had profound ramifications on port container traffic. There was a systematic and correlated drop among all major trade partners and gateways. By 2011, most port volumes were back to their pre-recession levels.