The Port of Long Beach (POLB) saw its second-busiest May in the port’s 105-year history, bringing in 640,566 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units - a standard industry measure for containerized cargo), according to a report released Tuesday.
Container cargo numbers improved slightly last month, rising 0.8 percent compared to May of last year when the docks were still rushing to catch up after several months of congestion.
Imports rose one percent to 330,639 TEUs, exports rose two percent to 138,594 TEUs, and empties were flat at 171,333 TEUs, off just 0.4 percent compared to the same month last year, while the year-to-date total is down 1.5 percent compared to the first five months of 2015, according to the report.
“The port’s numbers are in line with trends observed by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which reports that inventories remain high for U.S. stores and warehouses, muting demand for oceangoing trade,” stated the release.
The NRF also notes that year-over-year comparisons to 2015 are difficult to make, based on the unusual patterns of last year’s heightened activity after the congestion slowdowns at the start of that time period. Comparisons to prior years are also skewed because the nation was still in recovery mode from the 2008 recession.
The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, handling $180 billion in trade annually and supporting hundreds of thousands of Southern California jobs.