Both the ports of Los Angeles, and Oakland reported final container throughput numbers for 2019, setting the stage for the Port of Long Beach to announce its statistics along with a forecast in its annual “State of the Port” address yesterday.
And much of the news was good.
Long Beach wrapped up 2019 – its second-busiest year on record – with 7,632,032 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) moved, a decrease of 5.7% from the record-setting pace logged in 2018. Imports slid 8.3% to 3,758,438 TEUs. Exports totaled 1,472,802 TEUs, down 3.3%, while empties decreased 2.8% to 2,400,792 TEUs.
Executive Director Mario Cordero also told stakeholders that he expects “better times ahead” as trade tensions between China and the U.S. have abated somewhat.
“At the end of the day, we need to be ready for whatever may come,” Cordero said in his speech. “We need to compete, we need to innovate, we need to lead. And most of all, we need to collaborate.”
The best way to do that, Cordero added, is to distinguish Long Beach as the “Port of Choice” by working toward operational excellence with labor, shipping companies, ocean carriers, truckers and other industry partners.
Key projects launched over the past decade are nearing completion, including the replacement for the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge. The new cable-stayed span is scheduled to open to traffic later this year.
Additionally, construction is scheduled to wrap up in 2021 on the final phase of the Long Beach Container Terminal, creating what spokesmen contend is “the greenest, most technologically advanced terminal in North America.”
They further state that over the next decade, the port also plans to invest an additional $1 billion in rail improvements that will speed the flow of goods across the country while reducing local road traffic.
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