The busiest port in the United States set a record first quarter with a major cargo surge.
By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent
LOS ANGELES — The Port of Los Angeles processed about 957,599 TEUs in March. That’s a 113 percent leap year over year from March 20. Global trade slowed to a crawl at the time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is the strongest March in the port’s 114-year history with over its busiest quarter, and its overall cargo volume has increased 44 percent compared to 2020. Year to date, the overall cargo volume through the port has increased by 44 percent compared to 2020.
March of 2021 saw loaded imports reach 490,115 TEUs, an increase of literally 123 percent compared to the previous year. Loaded exports also edged by 1.5 percent to 122,899 TEUs. Heavily-demanded empty containers to Asia surged 219 percent compared to March of 2020, reaching 344,585 TEUs. Also, a total of 95 cargo vessels arrived in March, including four extra loaders.
“As more Americans get vaccinated, businesses reopen, and the economy strengthens, consumers continue to purchase goods at a dizzying pace,” said Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, in a press release. “I applaud our longshore labor force, truckers, terminal operators, and supply chain partners who are working day and night to process the additional cargo.”
“Collectively, we have been able to significantly reduce the amount of container vessels awaiting offshore,” adds Seroka. “I’m also proud of the steady progress being made to vaccinate waterfront workers at the Port’s on-site location and elsewhere.”