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Port of Long Beach marks best month ever

The 753,081 TEUs moved surpasses June 2018 record

Despite neighboring ports reporting declines, cargo volume was up at the Port of Long Beach in July. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Executive Director Mario Cordero heralded the news that the Port of Long Beach had its busiest month ever in July as “a bright spot in the midst of the devastating effects of the coronavirus on the economy.”

The port said terminal operators and dockworkers in July moved 753,081 twenty-foot equivalent units, topping a record set in June 2018 of 752,188 TEUs. 

Total volume was up an impressive 21.1% in July compared to the same month in 2019. 

“Supply chain workers at the Port of Long Beach expertly handled a welcome surge in cargo that was brought on due to pent-up demand by consumers,” Cordero said in a statement. “It was a good month.”

Imports climbed 20.3% year-over-year to 376,807 TEUs, while exports grew 24.1% to 138,602 TEUs. Empty containers headed back to Asia increased 20.8% to 237,672 TEUs.

The July gains also were an improvement from June, which was down 11.1% year-over-year with 602,180 TEUs moved.

The port said July cargo volumes were bolstered by a surge in online spending as consumers continued to shop from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The port also saw a short-term increase in extra vessel visits to compensate for voyages that were canceled earlier this year.

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 those blanked sailings this year were destined for the Port of Long Beach. 

The Port of Long Beach’s volumes still are lagging behind 2019 totals. The port moved a total of 4,186,115 TEUs during the first seven months of 2020, down 2.8% from the same period last year.

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Click for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.

Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.