Port of Long Beach Reports Record Sept. Cargo

Two cargo ships anchored at a Port of Long Beach terminal. File photo by Mark Nero.

After months of year-over-year declines, the Port of Long Beach saw an 11.8% year-over-year boost in cargo volumes last month, which is now considered the busiest September in the port’s history.

According to data released by the port Oct. 19, Long Beach handled 829,429 TEUs, beating the previous record set in September 2020 by 78,849 TEUs.

It’s the first time in 14 months that the port has seen a year-over-year rise in cargo.

The port attributes the uptick in part to heightened holiday demand, a new labor contract for West Coast longshore workers and the port’s push to promote itself as a port for businesses.

Long Beach saw imports up 19.3% to 408,926 TEUs and exports down 10.3% to 101,248 TEUs last month compared to September 2022. Empties rose 11.5% to 319,255 TEUs, according to port data.

“Consumer confidence is on the rise and shippers can rely on the Port of Choice now that we have a ratified contract in place with our waterfront workforce,” the port’s CEO, Mario Cordero, said in a statement. “We look forward to a moderate rebound in cargo volume through the end of the year.”

The port saw 5,822,666 TEUs in the first nine months of this year, POLB data show. That’s 20.7% fewer TEUs than during the same time span in 2022, but is on par with pre-pandemic numbers when the port processed more than 5.7 million TEUs during the same time in 2019.

By Karen Robes Meeks