West Coast Port Congestion Spreads North to Oakland
By Brendan Murray (Bloomberg) — Los Angeles port officials see progress in reducing their bottleneck of cargo ships. Sail north to Oakland, though, and the line is even longer and there’s...
The Port of Long Beach has reported its busiest month ever in September as retailers rush to restock ahead of the holiday season.
The port on Wednesday said trade was up 12.5% in September compared to the same month last year. Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 795,580 TEUs, breaking the “best month” record set back in July when 753,081 TEUs moved across its docks.
The month also capped a record-setting quarter for the 109-year-old port, the second busiest on the U.S. West Coast behind the Port of Los Angeles, which has reported similar record-setting figures in recent months.
From July 1 to September 30, the Port of Long Beach processed 2,274,271 TEUs for a 14.1% increase from the third quarter of 2019. The quarter topped the previous record set during the third quarter of 2017 by nearly 160,000 TEUs.
Imports grew 14.3% last month to 405,618 TEUs compared to September 2019, while exports decreased 8.7% to 112,556 TEUs. Empty containers headed back overseas jumped 21.2% to 277,406 TEUs.
Year-to-date, the Port of Long Beach has moved 5,707,305 TEUs, up just 0.5% from the same period in 2019.
Additionally, the Port closed out the 2020 fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, with 7,660,975 TEUs, representing a 1.1% decrease from fiscal year 2019.
“Large retail stores are reopening, merchants are stocking up for the winter holidays and the increased use of e-commerce appears to be an enduring trend picked up by consumers during the recent stay-at-home orders,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “Still, we must move ahead with caution during the remaining months of 2020 because the national economy continues to be heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to the port, demand continues to increase for furniture, paint and office equipment as consumers make home improvements and work from home during the COVID-19 crisis.
A total of 92 containerships called at the port in September, including 19 unscheduled vessel calls making up for voyages canceled earlier this year. Dockworkers also transferred a record number of cargo containers at the TTI terminal on Pier T, marking the most ship-to shore cargo moves logged at the Port of Long Beach in a single month.
“These numbers reflect a continuation of the secure, speedy and reliable service we provide at the Port of Long Beach during this difficult time in our country,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “Delivering top-notch customer service and maintaining the health of our workforce remain our top priority.”
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