February 4, 2021 — The new year ushered in the busiest January on record at the Port of Long Beach, largely driven by the ongoing rise in online spending by consumers following stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 764,006 twenty-foot equivalent units in January, a 21.9% jump from the same month last year. It was the first time the nation’s second-busiest seaport handled more than 700,000 TEUs in the month of January, surpassing the previous record set in January 2018 by 106,176 TEUs.

Imports grew 17.5% to 364,255 TEUs, while exports climbed 7% to 116,254 TEUs. Empty containers headed back overseas increased 34.6% to 270,221 TEUs.

“After the volatility with cargo volumes in 2020, we hope to see some stability and continued economic recovery over the next year as we remain focused on attracting business and building for the future,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “We remain focused on the health and safety of our dockworkers as they continue to unload a record-breaking amount of cargo from a surge of container vessels calling at the Port.”

The strong start to 2021 follows a record-breaking year for the Port of Long Beach with 8,113,315 TEUs moved in 2020.

Online spending continued to climb in January for home improvement items and office equipment as consumers continue to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although activity typically slows down in February during overseas celebrations for the Lunar New Year, projections show that this month could be busier than usual as unscheduled container ship calls continue to make up for voyages that were canceled at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

“Trade moving through the Port of Long Beach will be a vital key to the economic recovery we hope to see this year,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “We’re staying the course by focusing on attracting business, growing our market share and continuing to build for the future.”

For complete cargo numbers, visit polb.com/statistics.