West Coast Ports’ September Cargo Dip from 2020, But Up from 2019: PMSA

Port of Long Beach
Port of Long Beach
TTI Inc. cargo trucks at a Port of Long Beach terminal. Photo: POLB.

Ports along the U.S. West Coast moved 1,059,361 TEUs in September, falling 3.9% from the same time last year, but increasing by 7.7% from two years ago, according the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association’s latest West Coast Trade Report, which was released Monday.

The Port of Los Angeles continues to be the busiest seaport in the nation, moving 903,865 overall TEUs in September. Nearby Port of Long Beach ranked second with 748,472 total TEUs.

Combined, both ports processed 1,652,337 TEUs in September, PMSA data show.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Seaport Alliance (the combined ports of Tacoma and Seattle) came in fifth busiest in the U.S. with a total of 330,517 total TEUs in September, following the ports of New York/New Jersey (724,418 TEUs) and Savannah (472,062 TEUs).

And so far this year, Los Angeles had the three busiest quarters among U.S. ports with 8,176,917 TEUs, followed by Long Beach with 7,094,849 TEUs.

Regarding exports, the West Coast has not been robust in that area, with only the Port of Hueneme and the Port of San Diego posting year-over-year increases, according to the trade report. For the San Pedro Bay ports, exports dropped 23.2% from September 2020 and fell by 26.4% from September 2019.

Combined, U.S. West Coast seaports moved 310,795 TEUs in exports in September.

Trade between the West Coast’s five biggest ports and Asia also dropped. About 56.9% of imports were processed by the Big Five ports in September, down from last year’s 58.2% but a slight improvement from 56.1% in September 2019, according to the report.

By Karen Robes Meeks