May Cargo Volumes Dip at L.A., Long Beach Ports

Cargo containers on a vessel at the Port of Los Angeles’ West Basin Container Terminal. Photo: POLA.

The Los Angeles and Long Beach seaports saw their year-over-year cargo numbers for May dip, while year-to-date volumes for this year remained ahead of 2023, according to data released by the ports this month.

Los Angeles handled 752,893 TEUs in May, about 3% lower than May 2023, according to data released June 12. Loaded imports fell 4.5% to 390,663 TEUs, while loaded exports jumped 24% to 125,963 TEUs, making May the 12th straight month of export growth.

Meanwhile, empties moved fell 12% to 236,268 TEUs when compared to May 2023.

Long Beach processed 695,937 TEUs last month, an 8.2% drop from May 2023, which officials there attributed to shifting trade routes and canceled voyages.

Imports dipped 4.5% to 345,271 TEUs, while exports dove 21.1% to 100,885 TEUs and empties fell 7% to 249,782 TEUs last month from the same time a year ago, according to data released by the port June 13.

Despite the year-over-year dips in May, overall cargo volumes for the first five months of 2024 outpaced the first five months of 2023 at both seaports. At L.A. and Long Beach, volumes are up 18% and 10%, respectively, from the same five-month time period in 2023.

“We continue our trend of strong, consistent volume that started at the beginning of the year,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “As we gear up for the second half of the year, our forecast indicates more robust activity on our docks throughout the summer.”

Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordero said he’s confident that the port “will see additional cargo as we work with industry partners to rebuild our market share in this increasingly competitive environment.”

Cordero added that he anticipates a moderate increase in cargo in the summer and recapture business.

By Karen Robes Meeks