The Port of Long Beach announced Thursday that last month was its busiest August on record, marking the 13th monthly cargo record in the last 14 months.
During the month, the port moved 807,704 20-foot equivalent units, an 11.3% increase from the same month the previous year. Of the total, about half, or 407,426 units, were imports, an 11.7% increase from the previous year. Exports made up about 119,485 units, a 5.3% decrease from the previous year. Empty containers accounted for 280,794 units in August, a 19.7% increase from the previous year.
“It’s peak season now, but we’re likely to see continued cargo growth well into 2022,” said Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach. “In order to stay on top of this cargo, ports will need to adapt. We will need to find the long-term solutions that will satisfy consumer demand, increase efficiency at the ports and reduce costs for our customers.”
The historic surge began in July 2020, and the port says overall retail sales in August were about 18% higher than pre-pandemic levels. So far in 2021, the port has moved 6,356,377 units, a 29.2% increase from 2020.
In August, cargo increased as stores replace inventory and retailers prepare for the holiday season. According to the port, peak shipping season is typically from August to October.
“The hard work and dedication of our waterfront workers and industry partners helped us achieve our best August on record at what we expect will be the start of a robust peak shipping season,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal. “Together, we can meet the evolving needs of our customers as the leading gateway for trans-Pacific trade.”