Cargo volume at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) rose 6.3 percent in October compared to the same month last year, the port announced Monday, making for the port’s best October in eight years. The gains also come nipping at the heels of the top quarter in the POLB’s 104-year history, according to the release.
Export growth of 6.5 percent in October bolstered the port’s overall numbers, while a slight decline in imports indicated that retailers of clothing, electronics and other consumer goods apparently stocked up early in preparation for the approaching shopping season that begins with “Black Friday.”
“We had an early peak in July and August, with much of the inventory for the holiday shipping season coming early,” said POLB CEO Jon Slangerup in a statement. “On the export side, we’ve seen increases for the past two months, as shipping lines choose Long Beach for its reliability and service.”
He added that year to date cargo volume at the port is up more than five percent and that 2015 is shaping up to be one of the POLB’s best years in its history.
A total of 619,983 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) moved through the port in October; imports were down 0.8 percent to 307,995 TEUs; exports increased to 128,308 TEUs. Empty shipping containers continued to rise 20.8 percent to 183,681 TEUs, according to the release. “Empties” are sent back overseas to be refilled with goods.
The National Retail Federation has forecast that retail sales will increase November and December to 3.7 percent from last year, according to the release. Long Beach cargo was up 5.4 percent for the first 10 months of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014, while volume is reaching pre-recession levels of trade.