Port of Long Beach unveils another record cargo surge in July as online media update debuts – Daily News

on Aug5
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The pandemic-era container surge pushes on at the Port of Long Beach, where a record number of containers for the month of July were handled.

Port Executive Director Mario Cordero announced Thursday, Aug. 5, that dockworkers and terminals moved nearly 800,000 — specifically, 784,845 — 20-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs, the industry’s standard cargo measurement) in July, a 4.2% increase from the same month a year ago.

Taking a cue from his counterpart across the harbor — Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka — Cordero announced the new figures during what will be a monthly online news conference that debuted on Thursday.

Seroka has been conducting the monthly media availabilities since March 2020 when the pandemic struck, attracting national and some international media participants as he provided updates on port operations and cargo numbers. Cordero’s inaugural event also drew a number of media outlets, including business wire services and many of the industry-focused periodicals and online news sources.

Both ports have made news throughout the pandemic, initially seeing dramatic cargo downturns followed by a still-ongoing and longer string of staggering, record-breaking shipments that have left some ships waiting at anchor for a week or more during recent months.

Consumer demand, Cordero said, isn’t abating. It continues to drive the high volumes of cargo, creating a “new normal” that is here to stay and will require a move toward a 24/7 supply chain model that will impact ports, shipping companies, railroads, and the trucking and warehouse industries.

“I don’t see those numbers diminishing,” he said of the cargo surges, “I think they’re going to increase.”

“In this new normal, we have to have this Amazon state-of-mind on how we move cargo out of terminals as soon as possible and diminish wait times,” said Cordero, former chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission.

The Port of Long Beach has broken monthly cargo records in 12 of the last 13 months. Through July, the port has processed 5.5 million TEUs, a 32.3% increase over the same period in 2020.

“Our dockworkers and industry partners have risked their health to keep the gears of our economy turning during this pandemic,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal in a written statement.

Cordero said the push to get dockworkers and all seafarers vaccinated as early as possible provided a boost in keeping the economy moving.

Exports in July continued a downward trend, dropping 20.7% in a year-over-year month comparison and Cordero said more focus continues to be needed for better inland port connectivity.

Empty containers moving out of Long Beach hit 291,955 TEUs, up by 22.8%.

Port of Los Angeles July numbers are expected by the middle of August, said L.A. Port spokesman Phillip Sanfield, explaining that Long Beach numbers typically are released earlier due to internal vessel count timelines being done differently between the two ports.

In other remarks, Cordero said there will be a “full-court press” to meet the demands for the upcoming holiday shipping season.

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