The Port of Long Beach has handled more than 800,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in a single month for the first time in its 109-year history.
The port moved 806,603 TEUs in October and broke the record set just a month earlier by more than 11,000 TEUs. Trade was up 17.2% from October 2019, the port said.
The port said imports jumped 19.4% last month compared to October 2019 with 402,408 TEUs, while exports were down 12.9% to 114,679 TEUs. Empty containers headed back overseas grew 31.8% to 289,517 TEUs.
“The peak holiday shipping season is supporting our ongoing recovery and record highs, but we are now facing a new wave of COVID-19 cases spreading across the country and remain locked in a trade dispute with China,” said Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach. “We are optimistic about the gradual economic recovery while bracing for any shocks still to come.”
The port said in October it had 94 container ship calls — 18 of which were unscheduled vessels that made up for voyages canceled earlier this year.
The port attributed the surge in cargo to retailers continuing to prepare for the holiday shopping season, a rise in e-commerce and an increased demand for gardening equipment, pet supplies and musical instruments.
It is not turning away any business despite reports of congestion and lack of chassis at the San Pedro Bay port complex. Maersk said Thursday it is working with the Long Beach-based Harbor Trucking Association to ensure efficient operations at the APM Terminals Pier 400.
October’s figures mark the third time in 2020 that the Port of Long Beach broke an all-time record for cargo movements within a single month, it said. In July, the port processed 753,081 TEUs, surpassing the previous single-month record set in June 2018 by nearly 900 TEUs. The record fell a second time in September, when the port processed 795,580 TEUs. October surpassed the previous month’s mark by 1.4%.
The port moved 6,513,908 TEUs during the first 10 months of 2020, up 2.3% from the same period last year.
The port also announced that free flu vaccinations will be available at its COVID-19 testing site from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday.
The flu shots will be administered at 2100 W. Anaheim St., a vacant lot in the harbor district. The port is providing the vaccinations in partnership with the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.
Free COVID-19 testing also is provided at the site on weekdays.