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Rail News: Intermodal
Ports of L.A., Long Beach broke cargo records in April
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach both reported record-breaking cargo volumes last month.
The Port of Los Angeles handled 736,466 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), the busiest April in the port's history. The volumes reflected a 4.4 percent increase from April 2018's levels and is 3 percent more than the previous April record set in 2017, port officials said in a press release.
For the first four months of 2019, the port's volumes rose 4.5 percent compared with the same period last year.
“With three-plus years of record throughput, we are focused on partnering with our stakeholders to refine operations for even greater efficiencies,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “Despite heightened uncertainty in global trade, we continue to invest and prepare our infrastructure and services to provide the best value for our customers.”
Imports last month were essentially flat at 360,745 TEUs compared to 361,108 TEUs in April 2018. Exports fell 5.6 percent to 155,533 TEUs. Empty containers increased 22.5 percent to 220,189 TEUs. Previously, the port's strongest April occurred in 2017 with 714,755 TEUs.
Meanwhile, the Port of Long Beach logged 628,121 TEUs moved last month, port officials said in a press release. The previous high was 619,512 TEUs in April 2006. Imports in April 2019 rose 1.8 percent to 317,883 TEUs compared with last year's level. Exports fell 12.7 percent to 123,804 TEUs, while empties rose 13.5 percent to 186,435 TEUs. Total container volume was up 1.6 percent over April 2018, officials said.
Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said the surge in empties shows the lingering impacts of the rush of imported cargo in fourth quarter 2018 as retailers stocked goods to outrun potential tariffs.
"Ocean carriers have been busy repositioning containers back to Asia after sending so many to North America late last year,” Cordero said. “With peak season approaching, we’re expecting imports to continue to grow, but it's clear exports are suffering under the weight of tariffs."
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.