The Port of Long Beach had its second-busiest September on record, down 5.9% from the same month last year, demonstrating the need for extended work hours within the supply chain as unprecedented numbers of vessels wait off the coast to unload cargo.
Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 748,472 cargo container units, a dip from the Port’s strongest September on record, achieved in 2020. Imports decreased 8.7% to 370,230 TEUs, while exports declined 1.6% to 110,787 TEUs. Empty containers moved through the Port dropped 3.6% to 267,456 TEUs.
“We are having capacity issues due to the unprecedented number of containers waiting to move off the terminals, while warehouses have little to no room to accommodate this ongoing spike in cargo moving through our port,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “This is not just about a record number of ships waiting off the coast. We are working with state, federal, local and industry partners to address issues with the entire supply chain that have finally caught up with us.”
“Our waterfront workforce is moving cargo as quickly as possible as we continue to collaborate with stakeholders from throughout the goods movement industry to develop solutions for our capacity challenges,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal. “This cargo surge is anticipated to last well into 2022, so we need to start thinking of new ways to meet the expected growth in goods movement and rising consumer demand.”
The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles last month announced a joint effort to expand operating hours that provides more time for trucks to pick up and return shipping containers as a measure to improve freight movement and reduce delays through the port complex.
Total Terminals International container terminal on Pier T rose to the challenge last month by launching a pilot program that makes it easier for trucks to access the facility during the overnight hours.
Issues within the supply chain have slowed the country’s economic momentum, but have not reversed it. Strong consumer spending supported by rising employment and wage growth will continue to drive economic expansion.
The Port of Long Beach has moved 7,094,849 TEUs during the first nine months of 2021, up 24.3% from the same period in 2020. The Port is on pace to move more than 9 million TEUs by the end of this year, surpassing the current record of 8.1 million TEUs achieved in 2020.
The Port processed 2,341,021 TEUs between July 1 and Sept. 30, a 2.9% increase from the third quarter of 2020.