Trade hums at nation’s second-busiest seaport amid COVID-19 concerns
The Port of Long Beach accomplished a pair of records in September by achieving its busiest month ever and its most active quarter in its 109-year history.
Trade was up 12.5% in September compared to the same period in 2019. Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 795,580 cargo container units and broke the “best month” record set just two months ago. The previous single-month record of 753,081 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), set in July 2020, was surpassed by nearly 42,500 TEUs.
The Port processed 2,274,271 TEUs between July 1 and Sept. 30, a 14.1% increase from the third quarter of 2019. It was also the Port’s busiest quarter on record, topping the previous record set during the third quarter of 2017 by nearly 160,000 TEUs.
“Large retail stores are reopening, merchants are stocking up for the winter holidays and the increased use of e-commerce appears to be an enduring trend picked up by consumers during the recent stay-at-home orders,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “Still, we must move ahead with caution during the remaining months of 2020 because the national economy continues to be heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“These numbers reflect a continuation of the secure, speedy and reliable service we provide at the Port of Long Beach during this difficult time in our country,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “Delivering top-notch customer service and maintaining the health of our workforce remain our top priority.”
Demand continues to increase for furniture, paint and office equipment as consumers make home improvements and work from home during the COVID-19 epidemic. Additionally, 92 containerships called at the Port in September, 19 of which were unscheduled vessel calls that made up for voyages canceled earlier this year.
And, dockworkers transferred a record number of cargo containers at the TTI terminal on Pier T, marking the most ship-to shore cargo moves logged at the Port of Long Beach in a single month.
Imports grew 14.3% last month to 405,618 TEUs compared to September 2019, while exports decreased 8.7% to 112,556 TEUs. Empty containers headed back overseas jumped 21.2% to 277,406 TEUs.
The Port has moved 5,707,305 TEUs during the first nine months of 2020, 0.5% up from the same period in 2019.
Additionally, the Port closed out the 2020 fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, with 7,660,975 TEUs, representing a 1.1% decrease from fiscal year 2019.
For complete cargo numbers, visit polb.com/statistics.
The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a gateway for trans-Pacific trade and a trailblazer in goods movement and environmental stewardship. With 175 shipping lines connecting Long Beach to 217 seaports, the Port handles $170 billion in trade annually, supporting more than 575,000 Southern California jobs.