Port of Long Beach (POLB) officials recorded a 7.9 percent increase in April cargo flow over that of April 2014—the highest cargo flow number in nine years.
A release issued Monday morning detailed the increase in cargo flow for POLB, days after the Port of Los Angeles recorded a 6.1 percent decrease in cargo flow for the same time frame.
Noting the difference in numbers between the two ports, POLB Beach Media Relations Lead Lee Peterson said it was hard to pinpoint a reason for the difference “without knowing the numbers,” but had a good idea of why POLB’s cargo numbers increased.
“Ours was due to the fact that we were working through so much of the cargo [from the winter] that we were backed up on,” Peterson said.
Ships often choose between the POLB and POLA based on the availability of open terminals, regardless of their planned destination, said Peterson. This results in a bit of back-and-forth between the ports, so year-to-year numbers are sometimes reflective of last minute decisions by ship captains to load and unload cargo faster.
“Although we are separate and competing [ports], ships could go through either port” due to the ports’ close geographical proximity to one another, Peterson said.
According to the release, 614,860 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) moved through the port in April and imports reached 317,376 TEUs, a 7.3 percent increase from last year. Exports fell by 6.1 percent to 137,546 TEUs.
The release said cargo numbers were “essentially flat” when comparing the first four months of 2015 to the first four months of last year.
“We expect this year to be a little ahead of last year,” said Peterson, saying the numbers indicate the economy returning to normal. “We had a pretty good year last year [as the] economy continued to improve—if we do the same as last year, we’re doing pretty good.”