Trade at the Port of Long Beach in March declined nearly one-third from the same period last year as retailers continue to clear warehouses and shippers shuffle routes from the West Coast to seaports on the East and Gulf coasts.
Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 603,878 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last month, down 30% from March 2022, which was the Port’s busiest March on record. Imports decreased 34.7% to 279,148 TEUs while exports increased 16.9% to 133,512 TEUs. Empty containers moved through the Port declined 40.5% to 191,218 TEUs.
“Warehouses remain full and fewer cargo containers are crossing the docks because consumer spending remains slow,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We are ready for a rebound in retail as we work with our industry partners to recapture market share.”
“We continue to invest in our infrastructure projects and look for ways to efficiently and sustainably move cargo so our customers new and old are reminded why we are the Port of Choice,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Sharon L. Weissman. “We will be ready when cargo volumes are on the rise again.”
Economists say financial markets are starting to stabilize following fears of a banking crisis in March. Additionally, consumers spent less as income growth slowed, savings buffers declined and credit card debt rose.
The Port has moved 1,721,326 TEUs during the first quarter of 2023, down 30% from the same period in 2022.