Cargo volume in August at the Port of Long Beach fell just short of another record month as a slowdown in consumer spending in the US continued.
The second busiest cargo port in the US moved 806,940 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) of container cargo in August, down just 764 TEUs – 0.1% – from August 2021, which was the busiest August ever.
This makes August 2022's performance the second-busiest November.
During the period, the Port of Long Beach said imports were down 5.6% to 384,530 TEUs and exports increased 1.6% to 121,408 TEUs.
Empty containers moved through the Port, meanwhile, increased by 7.2% to 301,001 TEUs.
"We're making great strides in reducing the number of ships queuing to enter the San Pedro Bay ports complex and quickly moving imports and empty containers out of the terminals," said Mario Cordero, Port of Long Beach executive director.
"We are collaborating with stakeholders to provide more information, more space and more flexibility across the supply chain," he added.
Meanwhile, Sharon L. Weissman, Long Beach Harbor Commission President, commended Port of Long Beach's dockworkers for keeping goods moving through Port,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Sharon L. Weissman.
"Our reputation as a primary gateway for trans-Pacific trade relies on our ability to ensure the secure and speedy shipment of goods," Weissman added.
Falling gas prices alleviated worries about inflation, but consumer spending remained flat in August.
Port of Long Beach noted in its statement that the San Pedro Bay ports – Long Beach and Los Angeles combined – have also seen a 50% decline in ageing cargo on the docks since the "Container Dwell Fee" program was announced on October 25.
"The Port of Long Beach has broken monthly cargo records in six out of the last eight months. The Port has moved 6,600,560 TEUs during the first eight months of 2022, up 4% from the same period last year," the statement said.
Dredging projects at Port of Long Beach
Meanwhile, in a separate announcement, the Port of Long Beach noted that its Board has approved dredging projects at the gateway which are expected to improve navigation and ease emissions.
The work will also allow the Port to welcome a newer, cleaner, and more efficient cargo vessels.
Port of Long Beach noted that it will shoulder the cost of the improvements with the federal government, estimated at almost US$170 million.
The Port's portion is estimated at US$109 million.
"By improving navigation in Long Beach Harbor, goods will speed faster around the supply chain, yielding enormous economic benefits for our city, region, and the nation," Weissman said.
Cordero noted that the Port of Long Beach already accommodates some of the largest ships in the world.
"Deepening and improving our waterways will give these vessels more room to manoeuvre, and to do so more efficiently by taking on more containers, reducing the number of ship calls and associated emissions," Cordero said.
Among other features, the project includes deepening the Long Beach Approach Channel from 76 feet to 80 feet deep, easing turning bends in the Main Channel to deepen a wider area to 76 feet, deepening parts of the West Basin from 50 to 55 feet, constructing an approach channel and turning basin to Pier J South.