The Port of Long Beach, California said May 13 it had its busiest April in port history, as volumes increased 10% against the previous record set in April 2021.
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The port handled 820,718 twenty-foot equivalent units during the month as loaded imports climbed 9.2% on the year to 400,803 TEU.
Appetite for laden imports into the US was expected to rise in the coming months as coronavirus lockdowns were set to be lifted in North Asian cities starting in mid-May, the port said in a statement May 13.
"Cargo continues to move at a record-setting pace and may not slow down anytime soon," Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said. "We are preparing for a likely summertime surge as China recovers from an extended shutdown due to COVID-19."
"Additionally, retail activity is leveling out due to inflation, but consumers are reshuffling their household budgets to allow for more spending on entertainment, restaurants and other in-person services," Cordero said.
Empty outbound containers surged over 17% during the month to 285,145 TEU as ocean liners were heard prioritizing the rapid evacuation of empty containers for loading in Asia, in order to capture high headhaul rate returns.
Platts Container Rate 13 from North Asia to West Coast North America was assessed at $8,000/FEU May 13, down $500 on the week amid weak forward demand projections. At the same time, PCR14 from West Coast North America to North Asia was assessed at $1,000/FEU, flat on the week.
So far in 2022, the port has moved over 3.28 million TEUs, a 5.1% increase from the same period in 2021. The Port of Long Beach is the second largest port in the US by container volumes, second to the nearby Port of Los Angeles.