Cargo shipments at the Port of Long Beach were up 6.1 percent for the first three months of 2016 compared to the same period last year, starting the year off strong, the Port said Thursday.
The quarter was the port’s best since 2007, helped by big gains in January and February. While March 2015 volumes soared 32 percent over the same month in 2014 due to the exceptional recovery from cargo backlogs early last year— March 2016’s container volumes were down 26.2 percent. Other factors contributing to this March’s smaller monthly total included the Lunar New Year, when many factories in East Asia shut down for one to two weeks.
“Overall, we are pleased with these results,” said Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup. “The uneven global economy, industry financial pressures, weak U.S. export demand and the introduction of megasized container vessels to West Coast ports have created dynamic conditions for the maritime industry that will continue to play out over the coming year. Nevertheless, our value proposition, being the fastest and most cost-effective supply route from Asia to America’s consumer markets, continues to define Long Beach and Southern California as the multimodal gateway of choice for our shipping customers.”
In March, Long Beach marine terminals handled a total of 464,855 twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs, the industry standard for measuring container cargo. Imports decreased 34.6 percent to 207,635 TEUs and exports were flat at 127,210 TEUs. Empty containers, which are sent back overseas to be refilled with more goods, decreased 29.8 percent to 130,010 TEUs.
“As the Green Port of the Future, Long Beach is committed to creating an even more efficient and environmentally sustainable supply chain,” said Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán. “We’re confident that our Port will continue to attract cargo and meet the challenges brought by the new generation of megaships.”
With an ongoing $4 billion program to modernize its facilities this decade, the Port of Long Beach is investing in capital and service improvements that will bring long-term green growth and maintain its compelling value proposition.