Surge in online spending leads to busiest month on record for Port of Long Beach

July was the busiest month in the 109-year history of the Port of Long Beach after consumer demand rose due to online spending during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Friday.

The local port moved 753,081 twenty-foot equivalent units, the standard measure used in the cargo industry—nearly 900 more than the previous record set two years ago.

The increased volume is due to a 21% increase in trade last month, spurred by a surge in online spending as consumers stayed home during the pandemic, officials said in a statement. The port also saw an increase in vessels to compensate for those that were canceled in the late winter and spring.

The Port of Long Beach saw steep increases in both imports and exports: Imports rose 20.3% compared to July 2019 while exports rose 24.1%. The rate of empty containers headed back overseas rose 20.8% over 2019.

The port, however, is still down overall from 2019, with volume this year declining by 2.8%.

The Port of Los Angeles, meanwhile, announced that July was its busiest month so far in 2020, and the second-best month in its history. Cargo movement was down last month 6.1% over July 2019, which was its busiest month ever.

“Preliminary data for August indicates solid volumes as retailers continue restocking inventories and preparing for the year-end holiday season,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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