The Port of Long Beach on Wednesday joined the lengthening list of record setters by announcing it had marked its best November ever.
The Port of Long Beach said in a press release that its best November on record was the result of “the holiday retail rush and a surge in personal protective equipment deliveries amid the latest nationwide wave of COVID-19 cases.”
The California port moved 783,523 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in November, a 30.6% leap from the same month last year. The story in Long Beach is all about imports, which were up 30.5% to 382,677 TEUs. Exports were down 5.2% to 117,283 TEUs. But the figure that sticks out is empty containers shipped back to Asia for refilling. They jumped 55% to 283,563 TEUs.
“Online shopping and PPE purchases are on the rise as consumers continue the stay-at-home lifestyle, but the overall economic outlook is uncertain with another wave of COVID-19 spreading across the country,” said Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, in the press release.
“We’re dealing with the surge in containers by partnering with stakeholders, utilizing a temporary storage yard and prioritizing dual transaction truck trips that balance inbound and outbound cargo flows,” he said.
Cordero alluded to the port’s efforts to deal with reported San Pedro Bay congestion and long truck turn times by referencing the dual transactions. The Port of Long Beach announced last week that it had worked with the four companies that operate its six terminals on a commitment to increase “the number of truck moves that pair an export container delivery with an import container pickup appointment during the same visit.”
The port had 87 container ship calls in November. A sizable number, 17, were unscheduled vessels that made up for sailings canceled earlier this year. Blanked calls plagued U.S. ports last winter and spring as a result of coronavirus-caused factory shutdowns in China. The San Pedro Bay complex — the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles combined — had 104 canceled sailings in the first half of the year. That’s more than double the 41 canceled calls in the first six months of 2019. Thirty-seven of the blanked sailings this year were destined for the Port of Long Beach.
The November-best results allowed the Port of Long Beach to continue its record-breaking streak. The 806,603 TEUs moved in October were the most the port had ever handled in a single month in its 109-year history.