Consumer demand continues to drive a cargo surge through the Port of Long Beach resulting in another record-breaking month in July, officials announced Thursday.
Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 784,845 twenty-foot equivalent units—the standard measurement for shipping containers—last month, making it the busiest July in the port’s 110-year history. The volume marked a 4.2% increase from the same month last year, which set the record for July cargo movement.
“Ships arrived last month to move these empty containers out of the harbor and clear valuable terminal space as we handle historic amounts of trade,” Executive Director Mario Cordero in an announcement. “These boxes are a valuable commodity in the overstressed global supply chain.”
Imports were up 1.6% last month compared to July 2020, with 382,940 TEUs, while exports decreased 20.7% to 109,951. The decrease was offset, however, by a 22.8% increase to the number of empty containers moved—291,995 TEUs.
“Our loaded exports are likely to rebound this month,” Cordero said.
The port has broken monthly cargo records in 12 of the last 13 months. Through July, Long Beach processed 5,538,637 TEUs, a 32.3% increase from the same period last year.
“Our dockworkers and industry partners have risked their health to keep the gears of our economy turning during this pandemic,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal said in the announcement. “We thank them, and acknowledge their service as we continue a remarkable run of records at the Port of Long Beach.”
Along with setting records, the cargo surge has caused a backlog in the supply, including the Port of Long Beach. Ships are sitting at anchor longer, waiting to be loaded or offloaded, containers are sitting longer at ports and, in turn, retailers and customers are waiting longer for their products.