August volumes for the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB) were mixed, according to data respectively issued by the ports this week.
POLA reported that August volume was up 3% annually, coming in at 828,016 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units). This marked the first growth month out of the last 13 months through August.
Imports rose 7% annually, to 433,224 TEU, and exports were up 22%, to 124,988 TEU. Empty containers saw a 10% annual decline, to 269,804 TEU. On a year-to-date basis through August, total POLA volume is down 21%, at 5,649,686 TEU.
“August was a very solid month with increases both on the import and export sides of our business,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said on a media conference call today. “Overall, global trade has eased this year and we expect that trend to continue in the coming months. Operationally, Los Angeles stands ready with capacity we’re prepared to scale on demand.”
And he added that that the recent ratification of the six-year contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association restores stability and confidence to customers as they make decisions on where to ship their cargo.
“With this contract in effect through 2028, you can continue to count on our longshore workers and terminal operators to keep cargo moving through the nation’s busiest port,” Seroka said. “When we are operating on all cylinders like we are right now, there’s no better choice for cargo than the Port of Los Angeles.”
POLB data: The Port of Long Beach reported that total August volume, at 682,312 TEU, was off 15.4% annually. Imports, at 325,436 TEU, fell 15.4% annually, and exports, at 93,402 TEU, saw a 23.1% annual decline. Empty containers were off 12.5%, to 263,474 TEU.
Through the first eight months of 2023, POLB total volume is down 24.4% annually, to 4,993,237 TEU, which is on par with pre-pandemic volumes for the same period in 2019.
POLB officials said the port has seen a modest start to the traditional Peak Season, with warehouses remaining overstocked and consumers continuing to spend on services like travel and dining, among other activities.
“We anticipated a modest peak season as our cargo numbers continue to stabilize at pre-pandemic levels,” said Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordero in a statement. “Over the long term we are strengthening our competitiveness by investing in digital and physical infrastructure projects that will keep goods moving efficiently for decades to come.”