A seagull flies past a COSCO container ship being loaded at the Long Beach Container Terminal Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

The San Pedro Bay ports keep breaking records.

The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles both recorded their best first quarters ever this year, the agencies announced this week, capped off by the most productive March for each.

Last month, the Port of Los Angeles processed 958,674 20-foot-equivalent units—the standard measure for shipping cargo—which marked its third consecutive monthly cargo record and third-best month ever, behind the 1,012,048 TEUs recorded last May and 980,729 TEUs in October 2020. Overall, the first quarter of 2022 was 3.5% higher for the port than last year’s record.

And in Long Beach, the first three months of this year marked the port’s best quarter ever. Dockworkers moved a total of 2,460,659 TEUs, up 3.6% from last year’s first quarter and 54,649 more TEUs than the previous record in 2020.

Last month alone, the Port of Long Beach moved 863,156 TEUs, up 2.7% from the previous record for March, which was set last year.

“Our dockworkers should be commended for a successful March by going above and beyond to keep goods moving,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal said in a statement. “Our partnerships with labor and industry continue to make us a leader in trans-Pacific trade.”

Imports were a major part of the increase in Long Beach, where workers moved 1,206,949 TEUs in the first quarter, a 5.3% jump from the same time period last year. It also barely eclipsed the 1,191,157 TEUs imported through the port in 2020’s fourth quarter.

“Imports are on the rise as we continue to clear the line of ships waiting to enter our Port and move containers off the docks,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said in a statement. “Collaborating with our industry stakeholders has led to notable improvements across the supply chain.”

Exports, meanwhile, were down 5.4% from 2021’s first quarter at 355,180 TEUs.

In Los Angeles, imports were up just under 0.5% from last year’s first quarter at 1,346,477 TEUs, while exports were down by about 10.5%, to 307,407 TEUs. Exports have now declined year-over-year in 37 of the last 41 months at Los Angeles’ port.

Christian May-Suzuki

Christian May-Suzuki is a reporter at the Long Beach Business Journal.