Port of Long Beach Volumes Slide amid Industry Headwinds

Slowed by industry headwinds and challenges that included Hanjin Shipping’s bankruptcy, the Port of Long Beach saw an overall cargo volumes decrease of 5.8 percent in 2016.

The year started on a high note in Long Beach, with shipments rising in early 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. Later in 2016, shifting service routes under the new alliances and the August bankruptcy of the former majority stakeholder at the 381-acre Pier T container terminal contributed to a slide in cargo figures.

Despite the decrease in volumes the port moved close to 6.8 million containers in 2016, marking its fifth best year ever, Port of Long Beach said.

A total of 6,775,171 TEUs moved through docks in 2016. Imports totaled 3,442,575 TEUs, down 5 percent, and exports were up 0.3 percent to 1,529,497. Empty containers were down 11.7 percent to 1,803,098.

Cargo was 8 percent lower in December compared to the same month in 2015. Imports decreased 8.2 percent to 271,599 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs. Exports fell 2.5 percent to 122,933 TEUs, while empties declined 11.4 percent to 154,397 TEUs.

By the end of 2016, the Harbor Commission had approved an agreement for a subsidiary of Mediterranean Shipping Co., one of the world’s largest container ship operators, to take sole control of the long-term lease at Pier T.

“Last year was turbulent, with numerous ocean carrier mergers and other changes,” Lori Ann Guzmán, Harbor Commission President, said.

“Now we have one of the largest ocean carriers in the world as a major partner and we’re well positioned to rebound in 2017,” she added.

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