Port of LA Forecasts Record Year

Port of Los Angeles
Port of Los Angeles
Busy container traffic in the Port of Los Angeles’ Pier 300 channel. File photo courtesy of Port of LA.

The Port of Los Angeles is on the verge of achieving a record year for cargo volumes. By the end of 2021, the nation’s busiest seaport expects to move roughly 10.7 million TEUs, shattering a 2018 record by about 13%, according to new data released by the port.

Imports are poised to reach a record 5.5 million TEUs, the data show.

The record comes despite Los Angeles’ decreasing cargo numbers for November. Overall volumes dropped 8.8% to 811,460 TEUs from November 2020, with half of the 86 container ships coming to the port with less than 5,300 TEUs.

“Smaller vessels can take nearly as long to process as larger ones and was a contributing factor in the year-over-year monthly decline,” the port explained in a statement.

Imports for November fell 13.2% at 403,444 TEUs and loaded exports tumbled 36.8% to 82,741 TEUs year over year, with exports dropping in 33 of the last 37 months.

Meanwhile, demand remains strong for empty containers. Los Angeles moved 325,275 TEUs in empties, 10.6% more than in November 2020.

Through November of this year, the port has handled 9,891,021 TEUs, 18.7% more than in the first 11 months of 2020, according to data.

As the port approaches a new cargo milestone amid the COVID-19 pandemic, port Executive Director Gene Seroka said he’s proud of the resilience of the port, labor force and its partners.

“While there is much more that we need to improve upon, we’re delivering record amounts of cargo and goods are making their way into the hands of consumers and manufacturers,” he said. “Moving into 2022, we’ll continue our focus on efficiency improvements, job creation and economic development.”

By Karen Robes Meeks