Port of Long Beach Moves Record Cargo Despite Logjams

Cargo ships are unloaded at the Port of Long Beach. (Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg)

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The Port of Long Beach moved record cargo volumes last year amid an import surge and supply chain snarl brought on by the pandemic.

The West Coast port handled 9.38 million 20-foot equivalent units last year, almost 16% more than a year earlier, it said in an email statement Jan. 19.

U.S. supply chains have strained under unprecedented demand, worker and truck-chassis shortages and a shift to buying more material goods as Americans avoided travel and social outings over the course of the pandemic.

Long Beach and neighboring Los Angeles received record amounts of imports in 2021 and despite efforts by the port and the Biden administration, long delays continue at the ports, which handle about 40% of the U.S.’inbound containers.

Imports jumped 14.6% to 3.58 million TEUs from a year earlier, and exports declined 2.6%, according to the Port of Long Beach. Empty containers moving through the docks surged 27.5% to 3.36 million.

Executive Director Mario Cordero credited workers who kept goods moving and said the port was continuing to work on solutions to improve efficiency in the face of congestion and the increased imports.

“I look forward to enhancing productivity in 2022 by advancing our move toward 24/7 terminal operations, deploying data-sharing technologies for our industry partners and continuing our infrastructure improvements,” Cordero said in the statement.

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