Strong cargo volume continued at the Port of Long Beach in November with 6.6 percent growth in container trade over the same month last year. It was the fifth straight month of increases and enough cargo to rack up the second-busiest November in the Port’s 104-year history.
A total of 619,699 container units, also known as TEUs (TEUs are twenty-foot equivalent units, the industry measure for container cargo), moved through the Port last month. Imports were up 4.3 percent to 306,654 containers. Reflecting the strong U.S. dollar, exports fell 4 percent to 124,717 containers. Empties tallied 188,328 containers, a 19.5 percent increase over November 2015.
Upcoming post-holiday sales planned by retailers across the country drove the Port’s strong cargo numbers. Retailers stocked their shelves aggressively a few months ago, and are shipping the empty containers back overseas to manufacturers to be refilled with more goods.
The National Retail Federation reported October sales were the highest in three months. The Toy Industry Association reported healthy sales figures up by 6.2 percent, an increase of $1 billion. Toy sales were driven by the “Star Wars” and “Minions” movies, whose toys came through the Port of Long Beach.
“Thanks to our industry partners, we have had consistent gains throughout 2015 and are on track to move more than 7 million TEUs this year,” said Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup. “Retailers have reported a modest but healthy holiday season, which keeps us busy and the economy growing.”
Based on current projections for December, the Port expects to surpass 7 million TEUs in 2015, which would be only the third time in its 104-year history. The other two times were in 2006 and 2007, when the Port of Long Beach reached 7.29 million and 7.31 million containers, respectively. Through 11 months of 2015, the Port was 5.5 percent ahead of the same period last year.
With this decade’s $4 billion capital program to modernize its facilities, the Port of Long Beach is building the Port of the Future by investing in capital and service improvements that will bring long-term, environmentally sustainable growth.