Friday, February 20, 2015

Congestion Drives Down POLB Container Volumes

By Mark Edward Nero

Lingering congestion at West Coast seaports drove down container cargo by 18.8 percent in January at Long Beach compared to the same month last year, according to newly released data.

Overall, 429,490 TEUs of containerized cargo moved through the Port of Long Beach in January, according to the data, which was released Feb. 18. Of that number, imports numbered 213,667 TEUs, a 23.5 percent decline from January 2014. Also, exports slid 19.6 percent to 98,462 TEUs, while the number empty containers moved declined 7.6 percent to 117,361 TEUs.

Long Beach has attributed the serious drop in cargo volume to congestion and contract issues plaguing the West Coast ports in recent months. The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents marine terminal management, and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union labor representatives have been negotiating a new contract for dock work since May 2014.

“We have been strongly urging the two parties to come to an agreement on a new contract, so that we can clear the backlog of cargo on the docks and the ships anchored off the coast,” Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Jon Slangerup said. “We are encouraged by recent progress through federal mediation and are hopeful that the contract will be signed soon, so that the Port complex can focus on returning operations to a normal pace.”

The latest monthly cargo numbers for the Port of Long Beach can be found at, while more details on the cargo numbers are available at