Cargo traffic down at Southland ports

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The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach generate nearly $200 billion in trade a year. But cargo traffic at both ports has dropped during the recession. L.A. Business Journal editor Charles Crumpley says more challenges lie ahead.

Crumpley told KPCC’s Larry Mantle that the ports will face more competition in a few years, when a widened Panama Canal will accommodate more large ships from Asia.

Charles Crumpley: "What would happen in the future is that presumably you know that traffic would just go through the Panama Canal and up the East Coast; go right to New York, New Jersey, Charlotte, Houston, places like that."

Crumpley said the ports of L.A. and Long Beach also face competition from other West Coast ports that charge shippers lower fees. Seattle’s port has advertised lately that it’s “fee free.”