The U.S. Port of Long Beach has reported the highest cargo volume for the month of February and extended cargo growth for an 8th consecutive month. During the first two months of 2016, more than 1 million TEUs have moved through the port.
The port saw strong gains during the last month by moving 561,412 TEUs, what represents a 35.9 % increase over the same month in 2015. Imports were up 44.7% to 295,870 TEUs, 11.1% to 123,010 TEUs, while empty containers rose 45.5% to 142,532 TEUs.
The port attributed this immense growth to the arrival of the 18,000-TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin. Featuring a length of 1,300 feet and a width of 177 feet, the vessel entered service on 18 February. The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin is deployed on the Pearl River Express, a service connecting the main China ports, including Xiamen, Nansha and Yantian, with the US West Coast ports.
“In February, we showed the world we can handle today’s megaships by inaugurating the 18,000-TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin,” said the Port of Long Beach’s CEO Jon Slangerup.
The gains can be also explained due to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar and an increased demand for import. However, this slows exports by making them expensive overseas, the port added.
The Port of Long Beach is undergoing a USD 4 billion program to modernize its facilities. Capital improvements include redevelopment of existing terminals, building of new wharfs, improvement of the railroad system and replacement of the bridge serving as a commuter route and a conduit for cargo trucks.