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Photo: Port of Long Beach

Port of Long Beach Reports Best Month on Record in May

Mike Schuler
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June 9, 2021

Container volumes at Port of Long Beach broke 900,000 TEU for the first time ever in May as consumer demand continues to show no signs of letting up.

Dockworkers and terminal operators at the nation’s second busiest port processed 907,216 twenty-foot equivalent units in May and broke the previous “best month” record set in March 2021 by 66,829 TEUs. Trade was up 44.4% from May 2020, when many businesses were closed in the early months of the pandemic.

Imports jumped 42.3% to 444,736 TEUs while exports saw a relatively flat increase of 0.6% to 135,345 TEUs. Empty containers increased 80.7% to 327,135 TEUs.

Year-to-date through May, the Port of Long Beach has now moved 4,029,532 TEUs, a 42.3% increase from the same period in 2020.

“We are seeing a demand for more goods as the country continues to open up and people return to work,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “Even as we continue to set records during this unprecedented moment in our industry, this is still a fragile moment for the economy and we remain optimistic about our country’s continued recovery.”

May was the 11th consecutive month that the Port of Long Beach has broken cargo movement records for a particular month amid a historic cargo surge that began in July 2020.

The port said E-commerce sales were higher in May compared to levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and consumers continued to spend more money on goods, rather than services such as restaurants, bars, sporting events and concerts – likely the result of lingering capacity restrictions in many areas.

“We are grateful to our waterfront workers and our industry partners for helping us achieve another significant milestone,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “The health and safety of our workforce remains a top priority as we continue to see extraordinary cargo volumes at this vital gateway for trade.”

Additionally, demand was up for lumber, appliances, and other durable goods due to a rise in housing sales and remodels.

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