March Cargo Volumes Up at L.A., Long Beach Ports

Image: Port of Los Angeles.
Image: Port of Long Beach.

The nation’s two busiest seaports each saw year-over-year cargo volumes rise in March, according to new data released by the Los Angeles and Long Beach seaports.

The Port of LA announced April 17 that it processed 743,417 TEUs last month, a year-over-year growth of 19%. It was also the eighth month in a row of year-over-year growth.

When compared to the same time last year, March loaded imports rose 19% at 379,542 TEUs and loaded exports soared 47% with 144,718 TEUs, the seaport’s busiest month for exports in more than four years. It also reflects 10 straight months of year-over-year growth in exports.

Empties were also up 7% with 219,158 TEUs, data show.

The port also reported a bustling first quarter, handling 2,380,503 TEUs in Q1 2024, one of its best Q1 starts. That’s nearly a 30% jump from the first quarter of 2023, according to the POLA.

“Moving into April and the second quarter, I expect robust cargo flow to continue here,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “A strong job market and continued consumer spending, along with our ability to handle additional volume, will help drive cargo to Los Angeles in the coming months.”

In Long Beach, the port moved 8.3% more containers in March with 654,082 TEUs, making it the seventh straight month of growth year over year, according to data released April 15.

The seaport saw imports rise by 8.4% to 302,521 TEUs, while exports fell 21.3% to 105,099 TEUs when compared to March 2023. Meanwhile, empty containers rose 28.9% to 246,464 TEUs.

Long Beach data show that its volumes were 16.4% better in Q1 2024 than Q1 2023, moving 2,002,820 TEUs during the first quarter of this year.

“Consumer demand remains strong and continues to drive cargo,” Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordero said. “We will continue to build the infrastructure that will allow us to grow our trade strategically and sustainably.”

Meanwhile, the average amount of time that a container has been waiting at both ports has been normal for truck-bound cargo and higher than normal for rail-destined cargo, according to data released April 18 by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.

The association is reporting that the average container truck dwell was 2.59 days, while the average rail cargo dwell time was 7.02 days before leaving terminals.

By Karen Robes Meeks