March – a month that is traditionally slow for shippers – proved to be the busiest month for the port on record, beating Long Beach’s previous record of 815,885 TEUs, which was set in December 2020.
Meanwhile, the port handled 74% more in imports than March 2020 with 408,172 TEUs. The POLB also moved 139,710 TEUs in exports, a 3.9% drop year over year, while empty containers rose 112.5% to 292,505 TEUs.
“Although the pandemic is receding, consumers are spending less on travel this year and turning toward online retail in unprecedented numbers to purchase exercise equipment, office furniture and home improvement items,” Port Executive Director Mario Cordero explained. “The demand for e-commerce is happening more quickly than we anticipated, but we will continue to collaborate with our industry stakeholders to catch up with the unprecedented cargo volume at our gateway.”
Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna said the port was pleased that many who work on the waterfront have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and are keeping cargo flow moving.
“Even as we set records, the economy is still in recovery mode, so it is vital to keep our supply chain workforce strong,” he said.