CONTAINER throughput at the Ports of Los Angeles (POLA) and Long Beach (POLB) in May each earned a spot in the port's record books, according to the latest statistics from the two ports.
Total May POLA volume, at 967,900 TEU, was off 4.36 per cent annually. Even with the annual decrease, this tally marked the third highest-volume month in POLA's 115 years of operations, following April's 887,357 TEU, which was the second-highest April for POLA. The two highest-volume months at POLA are May 2021, at 1.01 million TEU, and October 2020, at 980,729 TEU.
POLA May imports, at 499,960 TEU, were off by 6.8 per cent annually but topped the previous five-year May average by 21 per cent. Exports totalled 125,656 TEU and saw a 14.4 per cent annual increase, while hitting its highest level going back to November 2020. And empty containers, at 342,285 TEU, fell 6.6 per cent annually.
Through the first five months of 2022, total POLA volume stood at 4,537,291 TEU, which is essentially flat, off by 0.31 per cent annually, reports Massachusetts' Logistics Management.
On a media conference call, POLA executive director Gene Seroka attributed May's strong volumes to retailers across a wide section of 125,000 importing companies continuing to replenish inventories and keep up with the American consumer's buying demands.
As for exports, he said the May tally represents some overdue good news, but after a three-plus year decline, he said there is still a lot of work to do.
"One month does not make a trend," he said. "We are going to continue to go all out on this issue from Washington to Sacramento and right here at home in Los Angeles."
Looking at May empties, Mr Seroka said that empties remain elevated, as imports remain high from Asia to Los Angeles, and the need to turn containers around quickly from Los Angeles to Asia is strong.
POLB data showed that the port handled a total of 890,989 TEU, down by 1.8 per cent compared to May 2021, POLB's highest-volume month in its 111 years of operations, while posting its second highest-volume month in POLB history.
Imports, at 436,977 TEU, fell 1.7 per cent annually, and exports, at 118,234 TEU, fell 12.6 per cent, for the same period. Empty containers headed up 2.6 per cent, to 335,778 TEU.
Through the first five months of 2022, POLB volume totalled 4,172,366 TEU, up 3.5 per cent annually.
"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 POLB executive director Mario Cordero in a statement. "Looking ahead, we are ready for the traditional summertime surge to coincide with China's recovery from a lengthy lockdown."