The Port of Long Beach reported handling a record a amount of cargo last month as crews works to clear congestion at shipping terminals.
Dockworkers and terminal operators at the port moved 796,560 TEU in February, up 3.2% from the same month last year. The volume was the most ever moved in the month of February.
Imports increased 4.4% to 390,335 TEUs, while exports declined 1.2% to 117,935 TEUs. Empty containers moved through the port were up 3.5% to 288,290 TEUs.
The record month comes amid ongoing efforts to expedite the transfer of long-waiting cargo off the docks. Although trade typically slows in February as east Asian factories close for up to two weeks to celebrate the Lunar New Year, the Port of Long Beach was busier than normal due to continued work to clear shipping terminals and reduce the number of vessels waiting for a berth. The port said the effort was also boosted by workers returning to the supply chain following a decline in COVID-19 cases.
“We are moving record amounts of cargo and catching up with the ongoing surge of imports,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Meanwhile, we are proceeding with measures we will need in the long term, such as development of our Supply Chain Information Highway data solution, which provides greater cargo visibility, connectivity and predictability.”
“New records continue to be set by our hardworking workforce,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal. “We are collaborating with our industry partners to keep the supply chain moving as efficiently as possible.”
The containership backup at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach stood at 50 as of Thursday, down from a peak of 109 on January 9, 2022, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.
Along with the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach has continued to postpone the start of a “Container Dwell Fee” that would charge ocean carriers for containers that linger remain on the docks. Combined, the San Pedro Bay ports report seing a 64% decline in aging cargo on the docks since the program was announced on Oct. 25.
Economic activity is anticipated to rebound after inflation cut into consumer spending during the first quarter of 2022, but it remains unclear how the war in Ukraine will affect the economy and financial markets, the Port of Long Beach said. Consumers are also purchasing fewer goods and shifting spending to dining out, entertainment and other services due to the decline in COVID-19 cases.
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