The arrival of the biggest ship to visit North America has triggered the Port of Long Beach to its highest cargo volume in February, 2016 and extended cargo growth for an eighth consecutive month.
The port saw strong gains last month by moving more than 561,000 TEU, a 35.9% increase over the same month in 2015.
This follows news that the port had broken cargo records for the seventh consecutive month in January, 2016, which is a massive improvement over the lows caused by the labour dispute in early 2015.
For February, imports were up 44.7% to more than 295,000 TEU. Exports increased 11.1% to 123,010 TEU, while empty containers rose 45.5% to more than 142,000 TEU.
More than one million TEU have moved through the Port of Long Beach in the first two months of 2016.
Jon Slangerup, CEO of the Port of Long Beach, said: “In February, we showed the world we can handle today’s megaships by inaugurating the 18,000-TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin.”
The Benjamin Franklin mega-ship was recently inaugurated at the Port of Long Beach in the presence of Jacques R. Saadé, CEO and Chairman of CMA CGM.
Slangerup continued: “The future of big ships is here and our customers are choosing Long Beach because we offer the fastest, most efficient way to get cargo from Asia to the rest of the US.“
The gains in February are also explained by several other factors, including the strength of the US dollar, which continues to drive demand for imports, but at the same time slows exports by making them relatively expensive overseas.
The Lunar New Year holiday began Feb. 8, closing many Chinese businesses for a week or more, so US importers ordered extra products ahead of the lull that will come to the port in early March, 2016.
With an ongoing $4 billion program to modernise its facilities this decade, the Port of Long Beach is building the ‘Port of the Future’ by investing in capital and service improvements that will bring long-term, environmentally sustainable growth, and maintain its competitive advantage as the fastest route from Asia to anywhere in North America.