Volume Declines at Long Beach Yet Still Beats 2020 Record

The Port of Long Beach has been breaking volume records month after month for the last year, bringing total import volumes higher than they’ve ever been. The port has already handled more than nine million TEUs since the beginning of the year.

However, the port’s import volumes also indicate that this is the second month in a row that has seen a decrease in volume. But despite the decrease in shipment activity, Long Beach has boasted in clearing backlogs on the port grounds and congestion of ships waiting for terminal space, which is considerable progress for a previously grid-locked port.

November’s container volume decreased 5% year-over-year since 2020 – a roughly 6% decrease in export activity and 5% decrease in import activity. Empty containers were also down about 3% since the same time last year. But despite these seemingly significant drops in volume, the port is doing quite well in the grand scheme of things.

Record Breaking Cargo Volume at Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach has handled 8.63 million TEUs thus far in 2021, which is 18% ahead of where the port was at this time last year. The Southern Californian port has also surpassed its total 12-month volume of 8.1 million TEUs last year.

Long Beach officials didn’t comment on the drop in container volumes the last two months, but instead diverted attention towards the significant improvements being made on the fronts of efficiency. They are collaborating with marine terminals to increase the hours of operation, create temporary staging areas for full containers, and advise truckers to drop off export containers on their way in to pick up import containers. These steps, while seemingly small, are all significant in reducing congestion and improving efficiencies in moving goods through port grounds.

Those who paid attention to Southern California port news during October know of the long-stay container fees that were approved at the end of the month. The proposal cited a $100 fee to be tacked onto ocean containers dwelling at the port for too long, with an additional $100 fee per container per day for containers that exceed the dwell time allotted. However, despite passing the proposal, the ports have not yet implemented it, as they have already seen a 37% decrease in aging cargo on the docks. Passing the proposal was enough incentive to get shippers to pick up their cargo and continue doing so to avoid steep cargo fees.

Import vessels are showing no signs of slowing down headed into 2022. The pace of ships arriving at the port is expected to remain similar through mid-2022 with a small decrease predicted in February for Chinese New Year. While the port may not see major relief on container arrivals, the improved efficiency of container handling certainly aids in the effort to keep cargo moving in and out of the Southern Californian port.

Please reach to our team at InterlogUSA for more information or questions you have regarding your shipping situation.


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