Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach each set volume records in October
October volumes at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB) saw strong growth, according to data respectively issued by each port this week.
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POLA handled 952,554 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in October, which represented a 27.2% annual increase, as well as setting a new all-time high for a single month in the port’s 111 years of operations, topping November 2017’s 925,225 TEU.
POLA imports, at 485,824 TEU, rose 26.7% annually, and exports headed up 20.5% to 173,824 TEU. Empty containers saw a 25% increase to 292,906 TEU.
On a year-to-date basis through October, total POLA volume is up 1.1% to 7.7 million TEU.
“During October, two of our container terminals – APM Terminals and Fenix Marine Services, formerly Eagle Marine – processed record container volumes while West Basin Container Terminals and Everport Terminal Services handled the biggest ships to ever call at those facilities,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka in a statement. “These robust cargo volumes equate to more jobs in the region and across the nation. We’re committed to doing our part to continue building a strong and skilled workforce for years to come.”
POLB total volume came in at 704,408 TEU, which marked a 5.4% annual increase en route to breaking the port’s all-time record for October volume, as well as becoming the port’s third highest volume month in its 107-year history.
October imports for POLB rose 7.4% annually to 364,084, with exports up 5% annually to 119,837. Empty containers saw an 8.5% gain to 221,487 TEU.
For the first ten months of 2018, total POLB volumes are up 7.9% to 6,727,542 TEU, which is ahead of the pace for 2017 was at for the same period, with 2017 ending up being the port’s best-ever volume year.
Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said in a statement that these October volumes highlight the evolving effects of the U.S.-China trade war.
“Our higher import volumes suggest some retailers expect U.S. consumers will be big spenders this holiday season,” said Cordero. “Other importers are rushing shipments to beat escalating tariffs. At the same time, the trade war has clearly slowed American exports to China.”
KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Todd Fowler observed in a research note that POLA and POLB October container imports were materially stronger than expected and were consistent with seasonal strength ahead of the anticipated tariff increase on List 3 products that is expected to take effect on January 1, 2019, coupled with stable underlying economic demand.