Cargo continues surge as retailers stock up for holidays

With the best September in its 104-year history, the Port of Long Beach last month moved enough cargo volume to also achieve its busiest quarter, signaling a return to pre-recession trade levels. Many of the popular Halloween and holiday items on U.S. store shelves today were brought through the harbor in recent months. Retailers are stocking costumes, decorations and other goods in order to meet consumer demand.

September Fiscal Year to Date***
2015** 2014 %Change 2015*** 2014 %Change
Loaded Inbound 332,909 339,343 -1.9% 3,595,595 3,522,875 2.1%
Loaded Outbound 125,639 118,412 6.1% 1,528,314 1,664,050 -8.2%
Empties 197,076 172,016 14.6% 1,963,790 1,630,665 20.4%
TOTAL (T.E.U.) 655,624 629,771 4.1% 7,087,699 6,817,590 4.0%

*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.

Measured by individual containers of freight, cargo volume at the Port of Long Beach climbed 4.1 percent in September compared to the same period last year, to 655,624 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of boxed cargo. The year’s third quarter — July through September — topped 2 million TEUs in a first for the Port, and improved 14.8 percent over the third quarter of 2014.

“In recent months, Long Beach has seen a robust return of once-diverted cargo,” said Jon Slangerup, Port of Long Beach CEO. “We greatly appreciate our shippers’ continued confidence in the Port of Long Beach.”

Through the first nine months of 2015 the Port has seen a 5.2 percent increase in cargo volume compared to the same period last year. At this rate, the Port would finish the year with more than 7 million TEUs for only the third time in its history—the last time was 2007.

This year’s third quarter saw 10.6 percent more imports and 10.5 percent more exports, compared to the third quarter of 2014.

For September alone, imports dipped 1.9 percent compared to the same month last year, to 332,909 TEUs. Exports grew 6.1 percent to 125,639 TEUs. Empty containers rose 14.6 percent to 197,076 TEUs. With imports exceeding exports, empty containers are sent overseas to be refilled with goods.

With an ongoing, multibillion-dollar program to modernize its facilities, the Port of Long Beach continues to build the Port of the Future by investing in long-term, environmentally sustainable growth.