The Port of Long Beach kicked off the new year with its busiest January on record, boosted by efforts to successfully move aging cargo out of shipping terminals.
Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 800,943 twenty-foot equivalent units in January, up 4.8% from the same month last year. It was the first time the nation’s second-busiest seaport processed more than 800,000 TEUs in the month of January, surpassing the previous record set in January 2021.
Imports rose 6.9% to 389,334 TEUs, while exports increased 5.9% to 123,060 TEUs. Empty containers moved through the Port grew 1.8% to 288,550 TEUs.
The strong start to 2022 follows a record-breaking year for the Port of Long Beach with 9,384,368 TEUs moved in 2021.
“Terminal capacity is finally opening up thanks to support from our federal and state leadership, collaboration with industry partners, and the hard work of the men and women moving record amounts of cargo off the docks,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said. “We expect to remain moderately busy into the spring as we make significant progress to clear the docks and process the backlog of vessels waiting off shore.”
“Our record-breaking successes rely on the waterfront workers who quickly process goods moving through the Port,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal. “We anticipate this momentum to continue through 2022, allowing us to remain a leader in trans-Pacific trade.”
Import activity traditionally slows down in February as overseas factories close for Lunar New Year celebrations, but this month may be busier than usual as work continues to clear the docks and reduce the number of ships waiting to enter the Port amid a historic cargo surge.
The Port has delayed the start of a “Container Dwell Fee” that would charge ocean carriers for containers that remain too long on the docks. Still, the San Pedro Bay ports – Long Beach and Los Angeles combined – have seen a 68% decline in aging cargo on the docks since the program was announced on Oct. 25.
Despite an increase in COVID-19 cases, 467,000 payroll jobs were added nationally in January as prices rose. An inventory build-up at the end of 2021 points to an easing of supply chain snarls, meaning consumers will have more products to purchase this spring.