Feature: The Rejuvenation of the US West Coast


The days of slow cargo volumes and operational struggles at US West Coast ports are long gone, as the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach saw a more than 42% and 32% increase in container throughput in January, 2016, compared to the same period in 2015, according to official rankings released by Datamyne.

In January, 2016, the Port of Los Angeles shifted more than 366,000 TEUs, compared to the more than 257,000 handled in the same period in 2015, representing an increase of more than 108,000 containers.

This huge difference compared to 2015 can be attributed to the strike action that completely closed many ports in the western part of the US and was caused by a labour dispute between Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore Workers Union.

Technical Paper: How US ports tackled congestion

It wasn’t until mid-2015 when the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were able to pull themselves out of hard times and boost their monthly volumes.

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Port Technology previously reported on five years of growth at US ports, in which total TEU volumes per year from 2010 to 2014 had fluctuated, but on the whole had boomed by the end of 2014.

This trend could be set to continue in the coming years, due to the fact that US ports are seeing increasing volumes, as was the case with the Port of Long Beach recently, whose volumes have recently seen a seven-month jump.

Technical Paper: Long Beach: Driving the US into the Future

The Port of Long Beach saw a more than 73,000 TEU rise in container volumes in January, 2016 to more than 296,000 TEU, in comparison to January, 2015.

The top seven ports after the Port of Los Angeles have also seen yearly volumes rise in 2015 compared to 2014, which could highlight the fact that US imports are growing, despite the recent difficulties seen in the Chinese export market.

This is similarly consistent for the month of January, 2016, in which the top seven ports (except Port of Savannah) all saw cargo volume increases for the month.

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