Port Update: June 16th 2021

Despite fears of global economic collapse or recessions posed in the early months of 2020, shipment volume continues to rise for U.S. imports and port workers are doing everything they can to try to keep up. Asian manufacturing and production factories are working overtime to keep up with demand globally, and U.S. ports have broken all-time records for imports.

Just about every product you can imagine is in high demand right now – electronics, apparel, outdoor gear, home décor and remodeling supplies, tools… the list goes on. And while you may be used to only hearing of congestion at one or two ports, the truth is that every port is being hit hard as all customers are redirecting their cargo in an effort to avoid port traffic jams.

Here are some updates on a few key U.S. ports:

Long Beach/LA Port

Long Beach always seems to make the news. It’s by far the busiest U.S. port, and is always facing some sort of congestion issues. Anyone importing to the U.S. and routing their cargo through Long Beach pretty much assumes delays will be involved in the process.

Well, that streak continues. In March, Long Beach broke their previous record for monthly imports, and just two months later in May, reports have indicated they broke the all-time high monthly import record by moving 907,216 TEU’s in May alone. This record beats the March record by over 66,000 containers.

Interestingly, the surge in movement happening at the Long Beach port is drastically imbalanced between imports and exports. The port saw a year-over-year increase of 0.6% in exports, while they saw a 43% increase in imports.

Experts have attributed the increase in imports to consumer demand rising specifically for goods but not necessarily services. Since the pandemic, the demand for services decreased, but as the economy began opening and home projects came in full swing, the demand for lumber and other goods raised significantly.

There’s no reason to assume cargo capacity at Long Beach has capped, as demand will most likely continue to rise throughout 2021.

South Carolina Ports

South Carolina isn’t any exception to the increase in demand. Both exports and imports have increased significantly. South Carolina ports saw a drastic increase of roughly 47% in loaded imports following suit with the rest of the U.S. based ocean ports, as well as experiencing a spike in export volumes of almost 25%.

South Carolina Port officials reported having seen a massive 36% year-over-year increase in imports May of 2021. Of course, this number is being contrasted to May 2020 which was marked by irregularly low import volumes due to early COVID stages, however, the increase in imports at the South Carolina port sets a new record at 230,870 TEU containers.

Georgia Ports

As you may have guessed, Georgia follows in the footsteps of nearly every other U.S. ocean port in regards to growth and shipment volume. The Port of Savannah reportedly moved 478,620 containers in the month of May, and are currently on course to move more than 5,000,000 containers this fiscal year for the first time ever.

These numbers represent a near 42% increase in shipment volume year-over-year. While port officials initially expected double-digit losses in revenue during 2020, the port has bounced back with record breaking numbers in several months of 2021, and shows no signs of plateauing in activity anytime soon.

Georgia Ports Authority also report a shipment increase of 347% in vehicles and machinery from 14,043 units to 62,873 units year-over-year in May.

If you would like to discuss how these ports affect your shipments, reach out to us, we are happy to discuss your options with you.


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