By Mark Edward Nero
The Port of Long Beach saw a nearly nine percent rise in total containers moving through its terminals last month compared to March 2016, port data show, despite a five percent drop in loaded outbound containers.
The monthly increase was mainly due to containers arriving in Long Beach with goods bound for US consumers having spiked 20.2 percent. The jump helped pushed the port to its best first quarter since 2007. Dockworkers offloaded 249,534 loaded inbound twenty-foot equivalent units from vessels in March, according to port data.
But the port’s loaded outbound shipments to overseas markets continue to face challenges due to the strong dollar, as exports decreased 5.3 percent to 120,435 TEUs.
Empties numbered 135,413 containers, up 4.2 percent. In total, the Port of Long Beach moved 505,382 TEUs last month – an 8.7 percent increase.
Long Beach had a modest boost in cargo during the first quarter of the year, with overall throughput increasing just 1.5 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Data shows that all segments of containerized cargo grew year-over-year in the opening quarter of 2017, with imports climbing 2.1 percent, exports 0.4 percent and empties 1.5 percent.
“We’re happy to see these gains during the traditionally slow period of the year,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said in a statement. “We see a lot of upside for the remainder of 2017.”
Port of Long Beach Interim Chief Executive Duane Kenagy said that the port’s rise in imports shows that consumers are feeling optimistic.
“Since their spending drives more than two-thirds of the economy, this is a great indicator for the jobs that depend on our port as we head into the busiest trading months of the year,” he said.
The port’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.