Port of Long Beach Could Reach 9 Million TEUs in 2021

Port of Long Beach
Port of Long Beach
The Port of Long Beach projects that it will move more than nine million TEUs in 2021. Photo courtesy of POLB.

For the first time in its 110-year history, the Port of Long Beach could move more than nine million TEUs in a year, according to new data released by the port Thursday.

So far this year, the nation’s second busiest seaport has processed over 8.6 million TEUs through November, more than last year’s record 8.1 million TEUs.

Last month, Long Beach handled 745,488 TEUs, 4.9% less than November 2020,which was a record month, according to the latest port statistics. Imports fell 5.3% to 362,394 TEUs and exports dropped 6.4% to 109,821 TEUs. Empty containers dipped 3.6% to 273,274 TEUs.

Long Beach, along with the Port of Los Angeles, has been besieged by a growing number of cargo containers accumulating at the terminals because of record demand, causing a backlog of ships waiting at anchor and bottlenecks along the supply chain.

The mounting cargo prompted Los Angeles and Long Beach harbor leaders to announce a new fee that fines ocean carriers for lingering cargo containers at their terminals.

Since the announcement, cargo dwell times have fallen 37% at both ports, leading officials to delay implementing the fee to at least Dec. 13.

“Clearing the line of ships waiting to enter our port and moving containers off the docks are our top priorities to ensure shelves are stocked and consumers can purchase gifts during the holiday season,” port Executive Director Mario Cordero said. “We are seeing notable improvements toward achieving that goal as we continue to help our supply chain partners catch up and ensure goods are delivered as soon as possible.”

By Karen Robes Meeks