Box imports are making significant gains at America’s largest container complex while lingering congestion may still be hampering exports.
Import boxes at the Port of Los Angeles increased 31.5% year-on-year in March to 430,898 teu, and jumped 42.1% to 317,520 teu at Long Beach – both port records for that month.
Terminals have been working since February to clear out a backlog of vessels waiting to berth that had built up earlier in the year in the wake of protracted labour negotiations.
“The number of ships waiting at anchor has reduced significantly, labour levels are strong and our container terminals are extremely active,” commented Port of LA executive director Gene Seroka.
The Port of Long Beach noted in addition that a recently launched chassis pool system used by truckers to haul cargo has helped expedite cargo through the terminals.
Meanwhile exports, which suffered significantly during the height of the congestion crisis, continue to struggle.
Year-on-year exports in March plummeted 22.5% to 145,536 teu at LA, and fell 17.3% to 127,337 teu at Long Beach. Both were at their lowest levels for the month of March since 2009.
An LA port spokesman noted that the rise in value of the US dollar, which makes American exports more expensive overseas, has been a significant factor to the decline.