Port of Long Beach CEO Says Cargo Up Eighth Straight Month

Cordero Predicts April to Be Best Month So Far in 2024 for Container Volume
Port of Long Beach
A containership departs from the Port of Long Beach in California on Feb. 14. (Tim Rue/Bloomberg News)

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Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordero said April numbers will show trade flows coming to the U.S. West Coast are continuing to strengthen.

“I think you’re gonna see that our volume from April is higher than any month that we’ve had this year in 2024,” Cordero said May 9. April’s data will show “eight months of continued positive growth.”

“Our first quarter ended up real well,” Cordero said. When Long Beach’s numbers are combined with the neighboring Port of Los Angeles, container volumes are up 23% in the first quarter compared with the same period last year, he said.

Cordero said the twin ports of San Pedro Bay are seeing a return of cargo that was diverted to East and Gulf Coast ports last year during the prolonged contract negotiation between West Coast dockworkers and their employers. The talks concluded last summer with assistance from the White House after cargo disruptions started to escalate up and down the coast.

The National Retail Federation boosted its forecast for U.S. container imports through the summer and into early fall, pointing to a recent surge through ports on all three coasts.

Spot container shipping rates

“We haven’t seen numbers this high for this many months in almost two years,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF’s VP for supply chain and customs policy, in a statement May 8.

That surge appears to be showing up in freight costs. The weekly spot rate to ship a 40-foot container from Shanghai to Los Angeles jumped 18.30% this week to $3,988.

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