Port of Los Angeles On Track to Surpass 9 Million TEU This Year, But November Volumes Down

port of los angeles
Port of Los Angeles. Photo: trekandshoot / Shutterstock.com

America’s busiest container port, the Port of Los Angeles, processed 832,331 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in November 2018 putting it on track to once again surpass 9 million TEUs this year.

November marked the fifth consecutive month volumes exceeded 800,000 TEUs and the sixth busiest month in the Port’s history.

Compared to November 2017, however, November 2018 imports decreased 8.8 percent to 422,793 TEUs while exports also fell 14.3 percent to 152,527 TEUs. Exports of empty containers decreased 9.1 percent to 257,011 TEUs. Combined, November overall volumes were 832,331 TEUs, a 9.9 percent decrease compared to last year.

Last November’s 924,256 TEUs were an all-time record until it was surpassed in October 2018.

Year-to-date through November, overall volumes are 8,555,490 TEUs, nearly the same volumes compared to 2017 when the Port set an all-time annual cargo record.

“In November, we processed a number of high-volume vessels brought into service to facilitate the holiday season cargo surge and accommodate the push to import cargo before tariffs that were previously scheduled to increase on January 1st,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “As we enjoy the holiday season, I’m grateful to all of our labor workforce, customers and stakeholders for the role they play in moving such a high volume of trade. As 2019 approaches, we are committed to tackling the challenges and seizing the opportunities that await.”

The Eleonora Maersk, calling at the Port’s APM Terminals, set a new North American container handling record for a single cargo vessel with the off-loading and then loading of 27,846 TEUs.

November cargo volumes at neighboring Port of Long Beach rose to 621,835 TEU, a 1.5 percent increase compared to November 2017, which puts it on track to break its 7.5 million TEU record set in 2017. According to Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero, recent container trends, such as the growth of imports relative to exports and the large number of unloaded containers, illustrate how the higher tariffs imposed this year by the United States and China have impacted the flow of commerce.