Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka has described the gateway’s latest volume figures as “March madness” after it processed 957,599 TEU, an increase of 113%, last month.
In a press briefing accompanying the Port’s monthly figures, Seroka said volume like this in the first half of the calendar year had never been seen before.
Seroka also said consumers are continuing to buy goods at a “dizzying pace” as vaccinations programmes accelerate, and businesses reopen.
The traffic made March 2021 the Port’s third busiest month on record and by far its largest monthly increase.
It also represents eight consecutive months of YoY increases, following 11 straight months of decline due to the US-China trade war. The Port has been averaging over 900,000 TEU a month for the past eight months.
“Once again we are breaking records with this extraordinary level of business activity,” Seroka explained.
“To tell you what that would look like, if those containers were placed end-to-end, they would stretch from Los Angeles to New York and halfway back again.
“It is a stunning 113% increase compared to March 2020, when we sunk below 450,000 TEU at the outset of the pandemic.”
“I applaud our longshore labor force, truckers, terminal operators and supply chain partners who are working day and night to process the additional cargo,” Seroka said.
The huge surge in TEU traffic has been caused by a massive increase in consumer demand from the US, which has coincided with Chinese factories reopening and resuming exports.
“Collectively, we have been able to significantly reduce the amount of container vessels awaiting off-shore.
“I’m also proud of the steady progress being made to vaccinate waterfront workers at the Port’s on-site location and elsewhere.”
Year to date, overall cargo volume has increased 44% compared to 2020.
March 2021 loaded imports reached 490,115 TEU, an increase of 123% compared to the previous year.
Loaded exports edged up 1.5% to 122,899 TEUs. Empty containers, heavily in demand in Asia, surged 219% compared to March 2020 reaching 344,585 TEU.