Consumer demand, school supply imports lift Port to busiest quarter

The Port of Long Beach achieved its most active June and busiest quarter on record, boosted by increased consumer demand as retailers stock shelves for back-to-school shopping.

Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 835,412 twenty-foot equivalent units in June, up 15.3% from the same month last year and surpassing the previous record set in June 2018 by 83,224 TEUs. Imports rose 16.4% to 415,677 TEUs, while exports saw a 1.4% decrease to 115,303 TEUs. Empty containers moved through the Port jumped 21.6% to 304,433 TEUs.

“We are anticipating a robust summer season as consumer demand continues to drive cargo to our docks,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We expect to remain moderately busy in the coming months, and we will work to promptly process containers lingering at the Port.”

“Our waterfront workforce continues to move cargo at a record-setting pace,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal. “Our strong partnerships with labor and industry continue to make us a leader in trans-Pacific trade.”

The cargo influx arrived as pandemic-induced shutdowns were lifted in China, retailers stocked up on back-to-school supplies and ongoing consumer demand continued to be robust despite inflation and the potential threat of an economic recession in 2023. Consumer spending is anticipated to remain strong through the end of this year due to the healthy job market, but rising costs for food, gasoline, utilities and other goods are delivering a blow to consumer confidence.

The Port has moved 5,007,778 TEUs during the first half of 2022, up 5.3% from the same period last year. It was also the Port’s best quarter overall with 2,547,119 TEUs moved from April 1 to June 30, breaking the previous record set during the first quarter of 2022 by 86,460 TEUs.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a gateway for trans-Pacific trade and a trailblazer in goods movement and environmental stewardship. As the second-busiest container seaport in the United States, the Port handles trade valued at more than $200 billion annually and supports 2.6 million trade-related jobs across the nation, including 575,000 in Southern California.

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