Port of Long Beach posts record gains in 2010

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The Port of Long Beach announced that its containerized cargo increased by 1.2 million units in 2010, the largest single increase of any seaport in the United States. Port shipping terminals moved a total of 6.3 million 20-foot equivalent containers last year. The port says the jump represented a nearly 25 percent gain over 2009 and was the largest one-year increase in its history.

“This was a tremendous rebound, and happened much faster than predicted,” says Richard Steinke, executive director of the port. “Best of all, the additional cargo has brought back thousands of port-related jobs throughout the supply chain – and we’re very optimistic that the job growth in this industry will continue in 2011.”

For the year, overall container moves increased 23.6 percent from 2009, nearly recovering losses from the previous year. Imports rose 23.4 percent in 2010 to 3,128,860 TEUs, and exports were up 15.6 percent to 1,562,398 TEUs. Empty container moves were up 33.2 percent for the year to 1,572,241 TEUs. Empty containers are mostly bound overseas for refilling.

The 1.2 million TEU increase marks the biggest one-year jump since 1971 when the port leased its first container terminal. The previous record was in 2004, when cargo volume increased by 1.1 million TEUs.

For the month of December, the port moved 523,311 TEUs, a 12 percent increase compared to the same period a year ago, and the 13th consecutive month of gains. Imports were up 10.4 percent to 256,889 TEUs, and exports were up 14.7 percent to 141,140 TEUs. Empty container moves were up 12.3 percent to 125,282 TEUs.