Tuesday, October 13, 2015

POLB Has Busiest Quarter Ever

By Mark Edward Nero

Thanks in part to the best September in its 104-year history, the Port of Long Beach moved enough cargo volume to achieve its busiest quarter ever recently, something port officials say signals a return to pre-recession trade levels.

Measured by individual containers of freight, cargo volume at the Port of Long Beach climbed 4.1 percent in September compared to the same period last year, to 655,624 20-foot equivalent units of boxed cargo, the port revealed Oct. 12.

The year’s third quarter – July through September – topped two million TEUs in a first for the port, and improved 14.8 percent over the third quarter of 2014.

This year's third quarter saw 10.6 percent more imports and 10.5 percent more exports, compared to the third quarter of 2014.

For September alone, imports dipped 1.9 percent compared to the same month last year, to 332,909 TEUs. Exports grew 6.1 percent to 125,639 TEUs. Empty containers rose 14.6 percent to 197,076 TEUs.

Many of the popular Halloween and holiday items now on US store shelves were brought through the Long Beach harbor in recent months. Retailers have been stocking costumes, decorations and other goods in order to meet consumer demand.

The rise in volumes is a complete turnaround from the first quarter of the year when the port was losing container traffic, something the port attributed at the time to terminal congestion and supply chain challenges occurring during several months of labor negotiations.

“In recent months, Long Beach has seen a robust return of once-diverted cargo,” Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup said.

Through the first nine months of 2015 the port has seen a 5.2 percent increase in cargo volume compared to the same period last year. At this rate, the port would finish the year with more than seven million TEUs for only the third time in its history, the last time being 2007.

More details on the cargo numbers are available at www.polb.com/stats.