Despite a 4.7 percent year-over-year decline in cargo movement, the port still recorded the second-busiest first quarter in its history.
The Port of Long Beach reported that, despite lingering trade uncertainty, it had its second-busiest first quarter in port history, moving more than 1.8 million TEUs January through March.
Although Q1 2019 cargo movement declined 4.7 percent year-over-year, the 1.8 million TEUs moved trails only the first quarter of 2018, a year when the port set an annual record for container movement at 8.1 million TEUs.
“With warehouses full from shippers rushing to beat the looming threat of escalating tariffs, shipments slowed somewhat,” Mario Cordero, Port of Long Beach executive director, said. “It’s going to take some time for inventory to cycle to markets and for typical growth to resume.”
Long Beach terminals and dockworkers moved 552,821 TEUs in March, a 3.9 percent decrease compared to the same month a year ago. Imports were down 7.8 percent at 247,039 TEUs, while exports were 7.7 percent lower at 131,436 TEUs. Empties shipped overseas rose 5.7 percent to 174,346 TEUs.
Long Beach Harbor Commission President Tracy Egoscue said the recent “Pulse of the Ports” economic forecast predicted a 1.8 percent increase in North American imports this year.
“After last year’s historic result, we’re expecting modest growth this year, but it’s always important to look to the future,” Egoscue said. “That means positioning our port for sustained long-term success with our multibillion dollar capital improvement plan, designed to provide customers with cargo movement that is predictable, reliable, efficient and fast.”
The latest monthly cargo numbers are available here.