Overstocked warehouses, consumer spending shift contribute to decline

The Port of Long Beach saw a modest start to the traditional “peak” shipping season as warehouses remained overstocked and consumers continued to pivot toward travel and other summertime activities.

Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 682,312 twenty-foot equivalent units last month, a 15.4% decline from August 2022. Imports decreased 15.4% to 325,436 TEUs, while exports were down 23.1% to 93,402 TEUs. Empty containers moving through the Port declined 12.5% to 263,474 TEUs.

“We anticipated a modest peak season as our cargo numbers continue to stabilize at pre-pandemic levels,” said Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordero. “Over the long term we are strengthening our competitiveness by investing in digital and physical infrastructure projects that will keep goods moving efficiently for decades to come.”

“We are collaborating with our industry partners to grow market share while moving goods reliably and sustainably,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bobby Olvera Jr. “We intend to close the year on a positive note that focuses on our efforts to improve cargo flow and secure our position as the premier gateway for trans-Pacific trade.”

The Port has moved 4,993,237 TEUs during the first eight months of 2023, down 24.4% from the same period last year. Cargo flows this year have been on pace with pre-pandemic levels, when the Port of Long Beach moved more than 4.9 million TEUs through August 2019.