THE Port of Long Beach set a new record in 2021 by moving 9.38 million TEU, up 15.7 per cent year on year, reported the American Journal of Transportation.
Imports jumped 14.6 per cent to 4,581,846 TEU and exports declined 2.6 per cent to 1,437,916 TEU compared to last year. Empty containers moving through the Port were up 27.5 per cent to 3,364,606 TEU.
"This incredible milestone was achieved by the skilled workers who keep goods moving through the supply chain as we continue to seek solutions to improve efficiency, attract business and build for the future," said the port's executive director Mario Cordero.
"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," he said.
Said harbour commission president Steven Neal: "The ongoing collaboration with our labour force and industry partners lifted us to this extraordinary record during a challenging time. We anticipate further collaboration in 2022 as we work toward developing immediate and long-term solutions that will alleviate congestion."
The increase in cargo was driven by evolving consumer spending habits during the Covid crisis, when demand for vacations, dining out and entertainment declined due to health precautions and pivoted toward home office supplies, furniture and exercise equipment.
The Port of Long Beach had 980 container vessel calls in 2021, down from 1,042 a year earlier due to the elimination of "dual calls" for some shipping services that moved up and down the west coast.
The port collaborated with stakeholders at the local, state and federal levels to enhance cargo movements, including: expanding hours of operation; creating temporary staging areas for full containers; and encouraging truck drivers to drop off export containers when picking up an import.
The strong economic momentum experienced through 2021 hit a speed bump by year's end due to the rampant spread of the Omicron variant.
Trade was down 7.5 per cent in December compared to the same period in 2020 with 754,314 cargo container units moved. Imports declined 11.7 per cent to 358,687 TEU. Exports dropped 13.9 per cent to 113,918 TEU, while empty containers climbed 1.5 per cent to 281,709 TEU.