Propelled by six consecutive months of rising cargo volumes in the final two quarters of 2015, the Port of Long Beach recovered from systemic congestion and cargo diversion in the first quarter to deliver one of its strongest results on record. For only the third time in its 105-year history, Long Beach topped 7 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units, a standard container unit) during the year.
Cargo volume climbed 5.4 percent in 2015 compared to 2014, as the Southern California seaport and its industry partners transformed the challenges of congestion at the start of last year into a scene of free-flowing cargo and record setting months.
“We’re gratified to see the business growth — we worked diligently over these past 12 months to recover from a very challenging start to the year, resulting in record volume and productivity gains and the strong and steady return of diverted cargo,” said Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup. “We credit terminal operators, labor, shipping lines, cargo owners and our local community with pulling together to turn things around.”
In December, the Port achieved 5.1 percent overall growth, compared to December 2014. Imports increased 7 percent to 296,002 TEUs, while exports fell 4.1 percent to 126,118 TEUs. In December, empties rose 9.5 percent to 174,328 TEUs.
For 2015, a total of 7,192,066 TEUs moved through the harbor. Imports rose 3.1 percent to 3,625,263 TEUs, while exports dropped 4.9 percent to 1,525,560. Empty containers rose 20.2 percent to 2,041,243 TEUs. The strong dollar continues to favor imports and discourage exports, resulting in more empties being sent back overseas to be refilled with goods.
During July and August, Long Beach achieved record cargo volumes resulting in the Port’s biggest quarter in its history — more than 2 million TEUs moved through the Port in the third quarter.
With an ongoing $4 billion program to modernize its facilities this decade, the Port of Long Beach is building the Port of the Future by investing in capital and service improvements that will bring long-term, environmentally sustainable growth.