Container throughput at the Port of Long Beach dropped 1.9% year-on-year in March, with imports essentially flat; the month also saw some shipping lines suspend services or switch to the Port of Los Angeles.
The harsh winter in the Midwest and East Coast is one factor being blamed for the slump, as residents in the harder hit areas were hampered in their attempts to consume goods and services.
A total of 477,209 teus moved through the port during March. Imports numbered 223,432 teu, down 0.7% from 2013. Exports fell 1.5% to 153,883 teu. Empty containers were down 5.4% percent to 99,894 teu.
Last year was the third-busiest year in the port’s history with a total of 6.73m teu.
Long Beach continues to invest long term and is three years into a decade-long, US$4bn programme to upgrade its facilities.
In April officials from both inside and outside the port slammed proposals from a Los Angeles’ committee to merge the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
The city’s mayor Bob Foster and Doug Drummond, president of the Long Beach harbour commissioners, said that the LA 2020 commission did not contact the port prior to publishing the proposal.
Foster said: “I find it mysterious and condescending and disrespectful that they didn’t have the courtesy to call the Port of Long Beach or the mayor of Long Beach before the issued this recommendation.”
Drummond said that he had asked to be able to speak on the issue, but was never given an opportunity to do so.
He called the proposal “an awful idea,” saying: “The two ports have been competing for over a hundred years to the benefit of customers…why would we give up our port?”