The arrival of the French mega ship Benjamin Franklin coupled with a strong dollar allowed the Port of Long Beach to deliver the highest volume of cargo for the month of February in its 105-year history, and extended cargo growth for an eighth consecutive month, port officials announced Wednesday.
The port moved 561,413 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) last month, a 35.9 percent increase compared to the same month last year. February saw a 44.7 percent increase in imports with 295,870 TEUs, officials said. With the movement of 123,010 out of the port, exports increased 11.1 percent, and empty containers rose 45.5 percent to 142,532 TEUs.
The first two months of 2016 saw the movement of more than 1 million TEUs through the Port of Long Beach, officials added.
“In February, we showed the world we can handle today’s megaships by inaugurating the 18,000-TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin,” stated CEO Jon Slangerup. “The future of big ships is here and our customers are choosing Long Beach because we offer the fastest, most efficient way to get cargo from Asia to the rest of the United States.“
Officials attributed last month’s gains to several other factors, including a strong U.S. dollar which continues to drive demand for imports, but at the same time slows exports by making them relatively expensive overseas, a release stated.
“The Lunar New Year holiday began February 8, closing many Chinese businesses for a week or more, so U.S. importers ordered extra products ahead of the lull that will come to the Port in early March,” port officials added.