Rising imports fueled higher container traffic at the Port of Long Beach in June, leading to a 3.4 percent overall volume increase over the same month last year, the port reported.
The Port of Long Beach handled 603,339 TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent units) during the month. Of those, 313,526 were inbound containers, a gain of 5.5 percent year-over-year. Exports were flat for the month at 128,099 TEUs, 0.1 percent lower than June 2015. Empties edged up to 161,714 TEUs, a 2.2 percent increase. Year-to-date total volume is down 0.6 percent compared to the first six months of 2015.
U.S. warehouse inventories have been lingering at high levels since 2014, contributing to a sluggish ocean trade environment. West Coast ports have been experiencing import gains in recent months, however.
“Our improving cargo volumes reflect the confidence that customers continue to have in the port of Long Beach,” said CEO Jon Slangerup
. “This is an encouraging sign despite soft consumer demand, high inventory levels and an evolving maritime industry as shipping lines continue to consolidate vessel services.”
U.S. GDP growth in the first quarter has been revised up to 1.1 percent from a previously estimated 0.8 percent. In the past two years, a slow first quarter has been followed by a rebounding second quarter. Economic experts have suggested growth could top 2 percent in the second quarter.
“As the July-to-October peak shipping season arrives, we’re going to continue providing world-class service to our stakeholders,” said Harbor Commission President
Lori Ann Guzmán. “These results are a reminder that Long Beach is the fastest gateway to American consumer markets for trade from Asia.”
With an ongoing $4 billion program to modernize its facilities this decade, the Port of Long Beach is building the port of the Future by investing in capital and service improvements that will bring long-term, environmentally sustainable growth.