Cargo Volumes Up at L.A., Oakland Ports

A Port of Oakland cargo terminal. File photo via Oakland seaport.

Cargo volumes were up at the Los Angeles and Oakland seaports in February, a sign of stronger consumer spending, according to new data.

The Port of L.A. saw a 60% spike in overall cargo year over year in February, when it handled 781,434 TEUs, marking seven straight months of year-over-year increases, according to data released by the port March 18.

POLA imports in February rose 64% to 408,764 TEUs, while loaded exports jumped 61% to 132,755 TEUs when compared to the same time last year. Empties also spiked 54% to 239,916 TEUs year over year.

Through the first two months of 2024, Los Angeles moved 1,637,086 TEUs, a 35% jump over the same time in 2023.

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said the port is well-positioned entering the second quarter as consumers continue to spend and economic indicators remain positive.

“Market confidence in our gateway is as strong as it’s ever been,” he said. “And our current operational data indicates that cargo is flowing efficiently, with additional capacity available.”

The Port of Oakland also saw growing cargo volumes in February with 32.1% more imports year over year with 76,734 TEUs, marking the fourth straight month of year-over-year growth, the port announced March 21.

Oakland also reported 24.2% more loaded exports with 69,242 TEUs in February, the third straight month of increases.

Through the first two months of the year, Oakland volumes were up 18.1% over 2023.

“The trends we saw in previous months have continued in February,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes said. “Consumer demand remains strong in (the) Northern California and Rocky Mountain states region for imports and in Asia for the region’s exports.”

“We believe that cargo volume will continue to modestly grow for the rest of the year, reversing some of the declines we saw in 2022 and 2023,” he remarked.

By Karen Robes Meeks