Trade War Pushes Port of Long Beach Towards New Cargo Record

OOCL Malaysia, largest ship at 13,000 teu to make its maiden call at LBCT

Cargo volume at the Port of Long Beach continued to rise in November, setting the stage for a second consecutive calendar year record.

The Port handled 621,835 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of container cargo during the month, a 1.5 percent increase compared to November 2017. Last month’s performance pushed 2018’s total TEU count to 7,349,377, making it virtually certain the Port will eclipse its record of 7,544,507 TEUs set last year.

For the year to date, volumes have risen 7.3 percent.

Imports continued to outpace goods shipped overseas. Inbound cargo hit 319,877 TEUs, an increase of 0.2 percent, while exports shrank 8.4 percent to 115,774 TEUs. Empties returned to Asia swelled 11.4 percent to 186,183 TEUs.

According to Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero, recent container trends, such as the growth of imports relative to exports, 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.

“American retailers are stocking up on goods made in China to avoid anticipated higher tariffs,” said Cordero. “You’re seeing the opposite effect on the other side of the ocean. Chinese businesses seem to be already looking to other countries for goods and raw materials, meaning there’s less demand for American exports and more empty containers are being shipped.”

“Business has been good in 2018, and we appreciate our customers for choosing the Port of Long Beach,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Tracy Egoscue. “While the new year may bring challenges, we remain hopeful that trade will grow, bringing more jobs and economic opportunity to this region.”