Port of Long Beach looking forward to Lunar New Year

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As cargo patterns have adapted to industry and economic changes, January has been a reliable growth month for all major U.S. West Coast ports, but this year the month has been especially good to the Port of Long Beach.

So far the the new year brought “a raft of records” to the ocean cargo gateway, as container volumes reached an all-time high for the month.

“The pre-Lunar New Year surge is definitely here,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero, taking note of the upcoming two-week holiday period in Asia, the port’s primary trading partner. “Since this year’s holiday begins Feb. 16, we anticipated a busy January and February, as cargo owners seek to get goods shipped ahead of the festivities.”

Longshore labor moved 657,830 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) through the harbor in January, 12.9 percent more than the same month last year. The total marks the first time Long Beach has surpassed 600,000 containers in the month of January.

The quick start to 2018 comes after officials recently announced that 2017 was the busiest year in the port’s 107-year history, reaching 7.54 million TEUs.

Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum, was equally ecstatic about “The year of the Dog.”

“We wish our supply chain partners in Asia a prosperous Lunar New Year and we’ll be doing all we can to ensure we can continue to grow our businesses together,” she said.

Imports hit a record 324,656 TEUs in January, 8.6 percent higher than last year. Exports rose 1.9 percent, to 120,503 TEUs. Because imports outnumber exports, empty containers sent overseas (to be refilled with goods for import) spiked 28.5 percent, to 212,671 TEUs.

Last year, container traffic increased almost 9 percent compared to January 2016, a month when cargo swelled 25 percent from January 2015.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier ports, with 175 shipping lines connecting it to 217 other seaports, while handling $180 billion in trade annually.

It should also be noted that the port plays host again to the annual Intermodal Association of North America Expo this year.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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