The Port of Long Beach had its best August in its 109-year history, marking a strong start to the peaking shipping season despite lingering economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 crisis, the port reported Wednesday.
Dockworkers and terminal operators last month moved 725,610 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of container cargo, a 9.3% increase compared to August 2019. Imports jumped 13% to 364,792 TEUs and exports were up 1% to 126,177 TEUs. Empty containers shipped overseas climbed 8.5% to 234,642 TEUs, according to the new numbers released by the port.
The boost comes at the start of the peak shipping season, which typically runs from August to October as retailers prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Economic uncertainty due to the on-going Trade War between the United States and China, as well COVID-19 pandemic, continue to weigh on cargo volumes.
“Despite the recent surge in cargo, uncertainty remains in international trade and the national economy, given the ongoing COVID-19 impacts,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “August marked another great month for the Port, but we must remain vigilant about the global pandemic’s lasting effects.”
In August, demand for goods such as home improvement items and home exercise equipment contributed to the increase in shipments, along with another short-term increase in extra vessel visits to make up for voyages that were canceled earlier this year, according to the Port of Long Beach.
Year-to-date through August, the Port has moved a total of 4,911,725 TEUs, down 1.2% from the same period in 2019.