By Mark Edward Nero
The arrival of the biggest ship to visit North America catapulted the Port of Long Beach to its highest cargo volume for the month of February, plus extended cargo growth for an eighth consecutive month, according to data released March 9.
Long Beach says it saw strong gains last month by moving 561,412 TEUs, a 35.9 percent increase over the same month last year.
For February, imports were up 44.7 percent to 295,870 TEUs. Exports increased 11.1 percent to 123,010 TEUs, while empty containers – those that are shipped back overseas to be refilled with goods for import – rose 45.5 percent to 142,532 TEUs.
More than one million TEUs have moved through the Port of Long Beach in the first two months of 2016, according to data.
“In February, we showed the world we can handle today’s megaships by inaugurating the 18,000-TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin,” POLB CEO Jon Slangerup said. “The future of big ships is here and our customers are choosing Long Beach.“
The gains in February are also explained by several other factors, including the strength of the US dollar, which continues to drive demand for imports, but also slows exports by making them relatively expensive overseas.
Additionally, the Lunar New Year holiday began Feb. 8, closing many Chinese businesses for a week or more, so US importers ordered extra products ahead of the lull that came to the port in early March.
For the fiscal year to date, Long Beach has moved 2.9 million TEUs so far, a 14 percent jump from the 2.5 million TEUs that the port saw during the same five month period in FY 2015.
The latest monthly Port of Long Beach cargo numbers and more details are available at www.polb.com/stats.