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The Port of Long Beach posts strongest month, quarter throughput on record


Port saw a 12.5% hike in throughput on year

West Coast exports remained weak

  • Author
  • David Lademan
  • Editor
  • Valarie Jackson
  • Commodity
  • Shipping

Houston — The Port of Long Beach has had its busiest month and highest quarterly throughput in its 109-year history on the back of a demand surge on the eastbound trans-Pacific lane.

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The port handled 795,580 twenty-foot-equivalent units in September, up 12.5% from September 2019. That exceeded the port's previous monthly high by more than 42,000 TEUs. In the third quarter, the port moved more than 2.274 million TEUs, a 14.1% jump from Q3 2019, and the highest quarterly throughput in the port's history.

"These numbers reflect a continuation of the secure, speedy, and reliable service we provide at the Port of Long Beach during this difficult time in our country," said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna.

In September, loaded imports grew 14.3% year on year, while exports fell 8.7% to 112,556 TEUs. The general decline in US loaded exports has been attributed to continued trade tensions with China and has been felt on the US West Coast, where both the Port of Long Beach and the adjacent Port of Los Angeles have reported falling export numbers. Loaded export volumes from the Port of Los Angeles has fallen versus year-ago levels for 22 of the last 23 months, Platts previously reported.

Additionally, the US trade deficit was $67.1 billion in August, up $3.7 billion from $63.4 billion in July, the US Census Bureau and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis said in its most recent data, published Oct. 6.

Strong consumer demand for home improvement and PPE products contributed to strong import numbers, the port said in an Oct. 21 statement.

From January through September, the port moved more than 5.707 million TEUs, up slightly from the same ninth-month period a year ago.

Platts Container Rate 13 — North Asia to West Coast North America —remained steady Oct. 21 at $3,750/FEU.