Average Monthly Container Traffic Share, Selected Ports, 2005-2010

Average Monthly Container Traffic Share, Selected Ports, 2005-2010

Source: Port Authorities.

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 26% of their annual traffic during the peak months of August to October and 23% of their annual traffic during the through months of December to February. This pattern is evident for a major commercial gateway linked with the Pacific trade and having deep hinterland connections such as Los Angeles. Seasonality has an impact on port infrastructure and operations since it requires investments to handle the peak demand.