Port of Long Beach

Port of Long Beach

It was a tale of two ports in May as cargo volume at the Port of Long Beach hit a record high while at the Port of Los Angeles, volume dipped 3 percent from last year’s record high, according to announcements from both ports.

The Port of Long Beach reported that it recorded the busiest May in its 107-year history, handling 687,427 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containerized cargo. That’s an increase of 6 percent from May of last year.

Containers for export led the growth: The total of 142,412 containers was up nearly 20 percent from a year ago. Imports increased 7.3 percent to 361,056 TEUs. The volume of empty containers dropped 4.6 percent to 183,959 TEUs.

Through the first five months of 2018, the Long Beach port moved 3.2 million TEUs, 14.6 percent above last year’s pace.

“International trade continues to be a thriving part of the economy, and cargo continues to flow across our docks as we focus on delivering goods quickly, efficiently and at a good cost,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum said in the announcement. “We look forward to a robust peak season this summer and fall.”

Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero also cited an increase in goods shipped for e-commerce orders.

“E-commerce has transformed the supply chain to deliver goods rapidly and then replenish them based on consumer demand,” Cordero said in the announcement.

Meanwhile, the Port of Los Angeles announced it processed 768,804 TEUs in May, a dip of 3.4 percent compared to last May.

The decrease was led by a 9 percent drop in empty containers to 194,637 TEUs. Imports dropped 1.8 percent to 405,587 TEUs, while exports slipped 0.6 percent to 168,681 TEUs.

For the first five months of 2018, the Port of Los Angeles handled 3.56 million TEUs, down 4.4 percent from 2017, which was a record year.

“Volumes have softened due to continued shuffling of alliance services in the San Pedro Bay,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in the announcement.

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.