The Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s leading port for containerized imports, reported a record cargo volume of 10.7 million TEUs in 2021 despite congestion that has hit throughput in recent months.
The record result sets a Western Hemisphere record and breaks the port’s previous calendar year record by 13%, set in 2018.
The annual figure was announced by the port’s chief executive officer, Gene Seroka, speaking at the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association’s seventh annual “State of the Port” event, held virtually due to the pandemic.
“Decades of development have provided the berthing space, land and rail infrastructure to process more cargo than ever before,” Seroka said. “In 2021, our marine terminal operators and workforce gave us the ability to move that cargo, from ships to rail cars or out the gates on trucks and for that we are eternally grateful.”
In his speech, Seroka reiterated the importance of the industry coming together to address global supply chain challenges, and highlighted the “unprecedented engagement” with stakeholders across industry and government to find solutions, including the Biden-Harris Administration and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office. Seroka also applauded the “phenomenal results” of the overstay fee for loaded import containers that stay nine days or more, which has yet to be implemented.
“The mere announcement of the fee reduced the number of such idled containers by more than 60%,” Seroka said.
Seroka also applauded the renewed attention and government investments being made in ports across the country, including the $17 billion earmarked in the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as well as the $2.3 billion Newsom has earmarked in his California state budget for next year.
“This level of funding represents a monumental opportunity for the ports,” Seroka said. “Beyond freight system improvements, it will fund much-needed digital and cybersecurity infrastructure. It supports our creation of a future-ready goods movement workforce, and aligns with our mission to lead the nation in the development of zero-emission port transportation.”
Seroka also outlined the port’s key initiatives and priorities for 2022, which include initiatives to support supply chain efficiency, workforce development and job creation, cybersecurity, and reducing environmental impacts.
The State of the Port of Los Angeles address comes a day after the Port of Long Beach, its neighbor in the San Pedro Bay port complex, reported moving a record 9.3 million TEUs in 2021 amid the “historic pandemic-induced surge in imports” that has continued since the second half of 2020.