The Port of Long Beach has reported its busiest September ever, driven by high consumer demand for holiday-related goods and the recent approval of a labor agreement between dockworkers and management.
In September, dockworkers and terminal operators handled a total of 829,429 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), marking an 11.8% increase compared to the same period last year. This also surpassed the previous September record set in 2020 by 78,849 TEUs.
Notably, this is the first monthly year-over-year cargo increase for the port in 14 months.
Import volumes experienced significant growth, rising by 19.3% to reach 408,926 TEUs. However, exports saw a decline of 10.3% to 101,248 TEUs. Empty containers moving through the Port also increased by 11.5% to 319,255 TEUs.
“Consumer confidence is on the rise and shippers can rely on the Port of Choice now that we have a ratified contract in place with our waterfront workforce,” said Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordero. “We look forward to a moderate rebound in cargo volume through the end of the year.”
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association reached a tentative agreement on June 14, which was subsequently ratified by the ILWU dockworkers on August 31.
Although the overall cargo volume for the first nine months of 2023 stands at 5,822,666 TEUs, representing a 20.7% decrease compared to the same period last year, it is worth noting that this year’s cargo volume has been on par with pre-pandemic levels. In fact, the Port of Long Beach handled over 5.7 million TEUs through September 2019. Additionally, between July 1 and September 30, the Port processed 2,089,990 TEUs, representing a 10.5% decrease compared to the third quarter of 2022.
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