The Port of Long Beach suffered a notable year-on-year decline in trade volume in March with the shift of goods towards the East Coast continuing to impact the port’s business.
According to official data, the port handled 603,878 TEU, a 30 per cent drop from March 2022, which was the busiest March on record.
The decline was mainly attributed to retailers continuing to clear their warehouses, and shippers switching to other seaports on the East and Gulf coasts.
The drop in trade volume was primarily driven by a decline in imports, which decreased by 34.7 per cent to 279,148 TEU, while exports increased by 16.9 per cent to 133,512 TEU.
Empty containers moved through the port declined by 40.5 per cent to 191,218 TEU.
READ: Port of Long Beach February throughput drops by a third
Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero attributed the decline to slow consumer spending.
“Warehouses remain full, and fewer cargo containers are crossing the docks because consumer spending remains slow. We are ready for a rebound in retail as we work with our industry partners to recapture market share,” he said.
Despite the decline, Long Beach Harbor Commission President Sharon L. Weissman expressed confidence in the port’s ability to bounce back.
READ: US West Coast ports show resilience to labour negotiations
“We continue to invest in our infrastructure projects and look for ways to efficiently and sustainably move cargo so our customers new and old are reminded why we are the Port of Choice. We will be ready when cargo volumes are on the rise again,” Weissman stated.
The Port of Long Beach has moved 1,721,326 TEU during the first quarter of 2023, down 30 per cent from the same period in 2022.
Earlier this month, the Port of Long Beach decided to extend HDR’s contract for the final design of the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility until 2027.
This $1.56 billion project aims to reduce congestion and air pollution by streamlining the movement of goods via rail instead of trucks.