For the first time in its 110-year history, the Port of Long Beach moved more than 900,000 cargo containers in a single month.
In May, 907,216 twenty-foot equivalent units—the standard measuring unit for containers—passed through Long Beach, the second busiest port in the nation. The movement crushed the previous record, set in March, by nearly 66,900 TEUs.
“We are seeing a demand for more goods as the country continues to open up and people return to work,” Executive Director Mario Cordero said in a statement. “Even as we continue to set records during this unprecedented moment in our industry, this is still a fragile moment for the economy and we remain optimistic about our country’s continued recovery.”
May imports jumped 42.3% to 444,736 TEUs compared to the same month last year, while exports were relatively flat with an increase of 0.6% to 135,345 TEUs, according to the port. Empty containers moving through port in May skyrocketed 80.7% to 327,135 TEUs.
The port moved over 4 million TEUs during the first five months of 2020, a 42.3% increase compared to the same period last year. Several months in the first half of 2020 were down compared to 2019 due to the pandemic, but July began an 11-month streak of record-setting cargo handling.
E-commerce sales for goods continue to exceed pre-pandemic levels, which accounts for the increased cargo volumes, according to the port. Additionally, demand for lumber, appliances and other durable goods is up due to increased housing sales and remodels.
“We are grateful to our waterfront workers and our industry partners for helping us achieve another significant milestone,” Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna said in a statement. “The health and safety of our workforce remains a top priority as we continue to see extraordinary cargo volumes at this vital gateway for trade.”