The San Pedro Bay ports, Los Angeles and Long Beach, both posted their best ever quarterly cargo increases this year, reports the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Long Beach moved 2,376,128 TEU during the first three months of 2021, a 41.2 per cent year-on year increase. Los Angeles was up 44 per cent on last year’s first quarter to 2,592,431 TEU

“Although the pandemic is receding, consumers are spending less on travel this year and turning toward online retail in unprecedented numbers to purchase exercise equipment, office furniture and home improvement items,” said Long Beach executive director Mario Cordero.

“The demand for ecommerce is happening more quickly than we anticipated, but we will continue to collaborate with our industry stakeholders to catch up with the unprecedented cargo volume at our gateway,” Mr Cordero said.

Los Angeles port executive director Gene Seroka said LA was “on track to close its fiscal year on June 30, exceeding 10 million TEU. This would be the first ever for any western hemisphere port”.

The cargo surge and vessels at anchor will likely persist through the second quarter, just in time for the ports to “then pivot very quickly to what is considered our traditional peak season, which usually begins at the end of July or August,” Mr Seroka said.

“We’ll have to start moving the back-to-school products . . . fast-fashion in the fall and then come up on the all-important time for retail, our fourth quarter, year-end holidays. So, we’ve got to get this right, and we got everybody pulling in the same direction.”

For March, LA lifted 957,599 TEU, a 113 per cent jump compared to 449,568 TEU at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 and a 47 per cent increase compared to 650,977 TEUs handled in March 2019.

Imports reached 490,115 TEU last month, an increase of 123 per cent compared to the previous year. Exports remained about flat at 122,899 TEU while empty containers surged 219 per cent compared to March 2020, reaching 344,585 TEU.

Source: Schednet