Container cargo numbers improved slightly at the Port of Long Beach in May, 2016 rising 0.8% compared to the same month in 2015 when the docks were still busily catching up after several months of congestion.
With cargo volumes near all-time peak levels, May’s 640,000 TEU qualified the month as the second-busiest May in the port’s 105-year history.
Imports were up 1% to more than 330,000 TEU, exports were up 2% to more than 138,000 TEU, and empties were flat at more than 171,000 TEU, off just 0.4% compared to the same month in 2015.
The year-to-date total is down 1.5% compared to the first five months of 2015.
The port’s numbers are in line with trends observed by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which reports that inventories remain high for US stores and warehouses, muting demand for oceangoing trade.
As noted by the NRF, the year-over-year comparisons to 2015 are difficult to make, given the unusual patterns in 2015 when the industry ramped up activity following the congestion slowdowns at the start of that year, and comparisons to prior years are skewed because the nation was still in recovery mode from the historic recession that began in 2008.
It was previously reported by PTI that volumes had declined in April, 2016, compared to the same period in 2015 by 22.1%.
Jon Slangerup, CEO of the Port of Long Beach has recently said that shipping lines can expect to see another two years of pain, as a result of weaker demand and overcapacity.
Fact File: The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a gateway for trans-Pacific trade and a trailblazer in goods movement and environmental stewardship. With 175 shipping lines connecting Long Beach to 217 seaports, the port handles US$180 billion in trade annually, supporting hundreds of thousands of Southern California jobs.