The January numbers are in for containerized cargo at the Port of Long Beach, and not surprisingly, they’ve slid considerably from last year’s digits. Container cargo has dropped by 18.8 percent compared to the same period last year, due to congestion at West Coast seaports, according to the Port of Long Beach.
Overall, 429,490 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containerized cargo was processed through the POLB in January, while imports came in at 213,667 TEUs, marking a 23.5 percent decline from January 2014. Exports dropped 19.6 percent to 98,462 TEUs and empty containers slid 7.6 percent to 117,361 TEUs.
While the POLB is not part of the ongoing negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association, representing marine terminal management and the ILWU, representing longshore labor, POLB Chief Executive Jon Slangerup said in a statement, “We have been strongly urging the two parties to come to an agreement on a new contract, so that we can clear the backlog of cargo on the docks and the ships anchored off the coast.”
32 ships waited to enter the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles Tuesday morning, following a partial work stoppage initiated by the PMA over the weekend. Larger ships carrying more cargo than ever before and the ongoing labor contract dispute, among other strategic issues, have created the “perfect storm” of congestion effecting all West Coast ports.
Slangerup concluded in his statement, “We are encouraged by recent progress through federal mediation and are hopeful that the contract will be signed soon, so that the Port complex can focus on returning operations to a normal pace.”
According to the POLB, last year was the port’s third busiest year, moving a total of 6.82 million TEUs through its complex.
Photo courtesy of Port of Long Beach.