Container volumes at the Port of Long Beach topped 900,000 TEUs for the first time in May as consumer demand continues to show no signs of abating.
Stevedores and terminal operators at the nation’s second busiest port processed 907,216 twenty-foot equivalent units in May and broke the previous “best month” record set in March 2021 by 66,829 TEUs. Trade was up 44.4% over May 2020, when many businesses were closed in the early months of the pandemic.
Imports jumped 42.3% to 444,736 TEUs, while exports saw a relatively flat 0.6% increase to 135,345 TEUs. Empty containers increased 80.7% to 327,135 TEUs.
Year-to-date through May, the Port of Long Beach has moved 4,029,532 TEUs, an increase of 42.3% over the same period in 2020.
“We are seeing demand for more goods as the country continues to open up and people get back to work,” said Mario Cordero, CEO of the Port of Long Beach. “While we continue to break records during this unprecedented time in our industry, this is still a fragile time for the economy and we remain optimistic about our country’s continued recovery.”
May was the 11th consecutive month in which the Port of Long Beach has broken cargo movement records for a particular month amid a historic surge in cargo that began in July 2020.
The port said e-commerce sales were higher in May compared to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels and consumers continued to spend more money on goods, rather than services such as restaurants, bars, sporting events and concerts – likely the result of lingering capacity constraints in many areas.
“We are grateful to our dock workers and our industry partners for helping us reach another important milestone,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “The health and safety of our workforce remains a top priority as we continue to see extraordinary cargo volumes at this vital gateway to commerce.”
In addition, demand for lumber, appliances and other durable goods increased due to increased home sales and remodeling.