Port of Long Beach has second-busiest month on record

The summertime surge could follow China’s post-pandemic recovery

May was the second-busiest month on record for the Port of Long Beach, and its strongest month so far in 2022.

Dockworkers and terminal operators processed 890,989 twenty-foot equivalent units in May, a 1.8% decline from May 2021, which remains the Port’s busiest month in its 111-year history.

Imports decreased 1.7% to 436,977 TEUs and exports were down 12.6% to 118,234 TEUs. Empty containers moved through the Port increased by 2.6% to 335,778 TEUs.

“We are moving an extraordinary amount of cargo and continue to work with industry partners to quickly move imports and empties off the docks,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Looking ahead, we are ready for the traditional summertime surge to coincide with China’s recovery from a lengthy lockdown.”

Steven Neal headshot
Harbor Commissioner Steven Neal

“We appreciate the hardworking people who quickly process cargo and make the Port of Long Beach a leader in trans-Pacific trade,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission president Steven Neal. “We are collaborating with federal, state, local, and industry stakeholders to find long-term solutions that will satisfy consumer demand and increase efficiency at the port.”

The Port has withheld the start of a “Container Dwell Fee” that would charge ocean carriers for containers that remain too long on the docks. The San Pedro Bay ports – Long Beach and Los Angeles – have seen a 40% decline in aging cargo on the docks since the program was announced on Oct. 25.

A cargo influx is anticipated as pandemic-induced shutdowns are lifted in China. Strong income gains and a large savings cushion are anticipated to support consumer spending this year, despite the ongoing risks of inflation, the war in Ukraine, and the recent lockdown in China. Demand for workers remains strong, with the addition of 6.6 million jobs reported nationwide over the past year. Increases in core durable goods shipments suggest business investment continues to progress at a steady clip.

The Port has moved 4,172,366 TEUs during the first five months of 2022, a 3.5% increase from the same period in 2021.

For complete cargo numbers, visit polb.com/statistics.

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