The Port of Long Beach is reporting another soft month in February amid to full warehouses, reduced consumer spending and the closure of east Asian factories during the Lunar New Year holiday.
Dockworkers and terminal operators at the port moved 543,675 TEUs last month, down 31.7% from February 2022’s monthly record when efforts were underway to clear long-dwelling cargo from terminals.
Loaded imports in February came in at 254,970 TEUs, down 34.7% compared the same month last year and 3% below January, but still 2.5% above pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.
Exports decreased 5.9% to 110,919 TEUs, while empty containers moving through the were down 38.3% to 177,787 TEUs.
“Trade continues to normalize following the record-breaking cargo numbers we saw at the start of last year,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We are investing in infrastructure projects that will keep us competitive as we collaborate with industry stakeholders to focus on trade volume.”
The Port of Long Beach said trade typically slows in the month of February as east Asian factories close for up to two weeks for the Lunar New Year. Economists say the year started stronger than anticipated, but shifts in trade routes and increased prices driven by inflation contributed to a decline in shipments as retailers continued to clear warehouses, the port said.
So far there are still no signs of any significant improvement in U.S. trade volumes, however, the National Retail Federation is predicting that major U.S. container ports will see a “slow climb” in the amount of imports through at least mid-summer.
“Our facilities, longshore labor, marine terminal operators and all of our industry partners make this the premier gateway for trans-Pacific goods movement,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Sharon L. Weissman. “This traditionally slow time of year provides an opportunity to focus on long-term projects and the operational excellence that makes us the Port of Choice.”
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