The Port of Long Beach has seen a slow start to the year moving 573,772 TEU in January 2023.
The figure stands 28.4 per cent down from the year prior, which marked the busiest January on record with 800,943 TEU.
This decline was attributed to a combination of factors, including weakened consumer spending, increased prices due to inflation, and a shift in trade routes.
READ: US import demand balance continues eastward shift
The decrease was also reflected in imports, which declined by 32.3 per cent to 263,394 TEU, exports, which decreased by 14.2 per cent to 105,623 TEU, and empty containers, which were down by 29 per cent to 204,755 TEU.
Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero acknowledged the new set of challenges the port faces, but remains optimistic that they will recapture market share and continue to grow sustainably.
“We’re confident we will grow cargo volume by working with our industry stakeholders,” added Long Beach Harbor Commission President Sharon L. Weissman.
“We are focused on investing in infrastructure projects that will improve air quality and make us more competitive.”
Meanwhile, economists predict that inflation may slow down for purchased goods, which could offset the rising prices for services, depending on how the Federal Reserve adjusts interest rates this year.
The Port of Long Beach recorded its second-busiest year in 2022, with a total of 9,133,657 TEU moved.
Despite this being a 2.7 per cent decline from 2021, the busiest year in the port’s history, the Port of Long Beach remained the leading export port for loaded TEU in the US for a second consecutive year.
As part of its continued coverage of the top ports in the globe, PTI ranked the busiest ports in the US in 2022, with Long Beach losing one position to the Port of New York and New Jersey.