Port of Long Beach Ends 2022 with 2nd-Busiest Year for Cargo Volumes

Image: port of Long Beach.

The Port of Long Beach handled more than 9.13 million TEUs in 2022, the second-busiest year in its history, according to data released Jan. 19.

That’s about 2.7% less cargo than 2021, the POLB’s busiest year on record. 

While imports dropped 4.9% to 4,358,789 TEUs and exports dipped 1.6% to 1,414,882 TEUs, the port continues to be the busiest seaport in the U.S. for loaded exports for the second straight year.

Meanwhile, the port moved 3,359,986 TEUs in empty containers in 2022, about 0.14% less from 2021.

The port saw record cargo numbers in much of the first half of 2022, a result of online buying and efforts to move lingering cargo off terminals. In the second half of 2022, however, consumer spending slowed, a result of an increase in inflation-driven pricing and a shift in imported containers to the Gulf and East coasts.

In December, the port moved 27.9% fewer containers compared to December 2021 with 544,104 TEUs, data show. Also, Long Beach saw 32.6% fewer imports in December with 241,643 TEUs, while exports rose 1.6% to 115,782 TEUs. Empty containers dropped 33.7% to 186,680 TEUs.

Cargo volumes through 2023 are expected to continue to drop as consumers move more of their spending from goods to services.

“Cargo is moving smoothly as we move past the economic effects of COVID-19,” Port Executive Director Mario Cordero said. “In 2023, we will continue to invest in digital and physical infrastructure projects, focus on market share and develop long-term improvements that will strengthen our competitiveness and keep goods moving efficiently.”

By Karen Robes Meeks