By Mark Edward Nero
A months-long container traffic slump at the Port of Long Beach could be close to being over.
The port said that renewed activity at the port’s largest terminal and extra ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year pushed cargo 8.7 percent higher in January compared to the same month a year ago.
Dockworkers moved 582,689 twenty-foot equivalent units last month, according to port data. Exports were strong, jumping 10.8 percent year-over-year to 118,234 containers, while imports increased 7.4 percent to 298,990 TEUs, while the number of empties sent back to the Far East to be refilled rose 9.6 percent to 165,465 units.
The month’s total container traffic growth was notable since TEU traffic in January 2016 jumped 25 percent from the same month in 2015.
Long Beach said the growth at terminals was led by the port’s Pier T terminal, operated by Total Terminals International and now controlled by Terminal Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Mediterranean Shipping Co., the world’s second-largest ocean carrier.
MSC’s TIL purchased a majority stake in the terminal following the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping last year.
For the fiscal year to date, Long Beach’s total TEUs are down more than five percent compared to the same four-month period during FY 2016.
“We’re very happy with the way the new year is starting in Long Beach,” Board of Harbor Commissioners President Lori Ann Guzmán said. “This year, we’ll be laser-focused on furthering our new partnership with MSC and continuing to provide efficient and rapid service to all of our customers.”
Long Beach’s latest monthly cargo numbers are available at http://www.polb.com/economics/stats/latest_teus.asp, while more detailed cargo numbers can be found at www.polb.com/stats.