Container Volumes Fall at Port of Long Beach

Port of Long Beach (file image)

Published Jul 11, 2019 9:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Long Beach, California posted a drop in container handling volume for June, with imports down sharply relative to the same period last year. 

A total of about 680,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) were processed at the Port of Long Beach in June, 10 percent fewer than last year. Imports shrank nearly 14 percent last month while exports were flat at 130,000 TEUs, about one percent down. Empties loaded onto ships to fill with goods in Asia decreased nine percent to about 210,000 TEU.

The Port has moved 3.7 million TEUs during the first half of 2019, 6.7% off last year’s pace. Second quarter throughput was 1.9 million TEUs, nine percent down.

Last June was the busiest month in the Port’s 108-year history, and capped the busiest second quarter during the busiest year ever.  Last month's performance was still the second-best June on record for the port.

“The story we saw develop in 2018 was retailers forwarding goods to beat tariffs,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “For 2019, it seems that the cargo is all here and warehouses are filled. That’s disrupting container movement and the growth we would normally see this time of year.”

Nearby, at the adjacent Port of Los Angeles, import container volumes rose by 3.5 percent for June, contributing to a new record total volume for the month. June also marked the end of a record-setting fiscal year for the Port of LA, with TEU volumes up nearly six percent at 9.7 million TEU. Handling volume at the port is up 5.5 percent over the year to date.