Previous cargo high mark for the month was reached in 2006

Ship traffic at the Port of Long Beach in 2019.Cargo volumes handled in April at the Port of Long Beach eclipsed a record set 13 years ago.

Dockworkers at marine terminals moved 628,121 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in April. The previous high was 619,512 TEUs in April 2006. Imports in April 2019 rose 1.8% to 317,883 TEUs compared to last year. Exports decreased 12.7% to 123,804 TEUs, while empties rose 13.5% to 186,435 TEUs. Total container volume was up 1.6% over April 2018.

Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said the surge in empties shows the lingering impacts of the rush of imported cargo in fourth quarter 2018 as retailers stocked goods to outrun potential tariffs.

“Ocean carriers have been busy repositioning containers back to Asia after sending so many to North America late last year,” said Cordero. “With peak season approaching, we’re expecting imports to continue to grow, but it’s clear exports are suffering under the weight of tariffs.”

“I commend our supply chain partners for their work in making April so successful,” said Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Tracy Egoscue. “They’re part of a vital link in the world economy. This trade gateway moves $1 billion in goods each day. Trade at the Port of Long Beach is connected to more than 576,000 jobs in the Southern California and 2.6 million in the United States.”

Four months into 2019, the Port of Long Beach has handled more than 2.4 million TEUs, 3.1% off last year’s pace.

Latest Month
Container Trade in TEUs

April Fiscal Year to Date***
2019** 2018 %Change 2019*** 2018 %Change
Loaded Inbound 317,883 312,376 1.8% 2,248,685 2,251,045 -0.1%
Loaded Outbound 123,804 141,799 -12.7% 826,755 925,598 -10.7%
Empties 186,435 164,264 13.5% 1,428,295 1,315,467 8.6%
TOTAL (T.E.U.) 628,122 618,438 1.6% 4,503,734 4,492,110 0.3%


*TEUs: 20-foot equivalent units or 20-foot-long cargo container

**Preliminary estimate The size of cargo containers range from 20 feet long to more than 50 feet long. The international measure is the smallest box, the 20-footer or 20-foot-equivalent unit (TEU).

*** Fiscal Year = Oct. 1 through Sep. 30.