Business at the nation’s leading container ports is beginning to pick up, which may be a sign that the general economy may be in better condition than thought. As a group, loaded container volumes at the nation’s top 10 ports notched a 14 percent increase in January 2016, compared with the year-ago period, according to figures compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. February port data also shows cargo rail traffic had positive volume growth. Ken Hoexter, a transportation analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch stated “No doubt we have definitely seen things bouncing off the worst. The exciting part is there’s still growth overall when we normalize for that port strike.” The relatively strong dollar helped drive import increases at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, and the two delivered their busiest February volumes ever. Other ports are also seeing increases in cargo volume. The Port of Virginia’s February 2016 container volume was up 24 percent compared with a year ago while the Port of Houston saw only a 1% increase in the same time frame. Read more.