Photo courtesy Port of Long Beach

Empties Help Port of Long Beach Surpass Los Angeles in August

Mike Schuler
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September 15, 2022

The Port of Long Beach on Thursday reported having its second busiest August on record, with cargo volumes less than 1,000 TEUs off its monthly record and even surpassing its neighbor the Port of Los Angeles in terms of total throughput.

The repositioning of empty containers to Asia helped to offset a decline in imports as consumer spending slowed, the Port of Long Beach said.

Dockworkers and terminal operators at Long Beach moved a total of 806,940 TEUs of container cargo in August 2022, down just 764 TEUs, or 0.1%, from August 2021, which was its busiest August ever.

August’s cargo volumes also came in about 2.6% above July 2022’s volume, when the port handled a monthly record of 785,843 TEUs. In terms of total throughput, Long Beach even beat out its neighbor the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s busiest container port, by about 940 TEUs last month—helped primarily by an increase in empty containers.

Imports through the Port of Long Beach were down 5.6% in August to 384,530 TEUs and exports increased 1.6% to 121,408 TEUs. Empty containers moved through port increased 7.2% to 301,001 TEUs.

“We’re making great strides in reducing the number of ships queuing to enter the San Pedro Bay ports complex and quickly moving imports and empty containers out of the terminals,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We are collaborating with stakeholders to provide more information, more space and more flexibility across the supply chain.”

The Port of Long Beach has now broken monthly cargo records in six out of the last eight months. Year to date, Long Beach has moved 6,600,560 TEUs, up 4% from last year’s pace when the port set its all-time annual record.

Next door at the Port of Los Angeles, it has moved an estimated 7.2 million TEUs through the first eight months of 2022, trailing 2021’s all-time record pace by 1.6%.

“I commend our dockworkers for their continued hard work to keep goods moving through the Port,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Sharon L. Weissman. “Our reputation as a primary gateway for trans-Pacific trade relies on our ability to ensure the secure and speedy shipment of goods.”

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