By Mark Edward Nero
Port of Long Beach container cargo volumes decreased significantly last month compared to the same month in 2015, after lower-than-expected consumer spending in recent months.
Total container cargo volume was down 22.1 percent compared to April 2015.
The port moved a total of 478,842 TEUs last month according to its data, including 247,316 TEUs in imports, while exports totaled 112,805 TEUs.
Empty containers, which are returned overseas to be refilled with imports, were down 25.8 percent to 118,721 TEUs, according to the port’s data, which was released May 13.
Through the first four months of 2016, cargo volume was down 2.2 percent, reflecting slowing economic growth nationally. US GDP was up 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 followed by 2016 first quarter GDP growth of only 0.5 percent.
“Economic conditions today are very volatile, but we remain confident in our long-term prospects,” noted Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán. “The Port of Long Beach is preparing for economic uncertainty by carefully reviewing our budget and looking for savings at every opportunity. While we still have significant modernization projects planned for the next 10 years, the pace of the projects will be determined by the health of the economy.”
The port says the numbers decline reflects shifts in evolving vessel alliances that have shifted ship deployments.
“The additional berthing choices offered by vessel alliances are dispersing cargo across more terminals and ports,” Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup said. “These volume shifts will continue to occur as newly formed alliances take shape.”
Details on the latest and past cargo numbers are available at www.polb.com/stats.