West Coast container volumes bounce back

West Coast container volumes bounce back
Container volumes dropped 19% at the Port of LA in October

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reported surges in container volumes in March, as the West Coast starts to recover from months of congestion and union disputes.

The Port of Los Angeles had the second most productive March in its history, handling 791,863 teu, a 17.3% year-on-year increase.

Its neighbour, the Port of Long Beach, celebrated its strongest March ever with a throughput of  630,084 teu representing a huge 32% year-on-year increase.

March numbers on the West Coast increased after terminal operators and dockworkers agreed to a tentative contract settlement at the end of February.

The spike means both ports Californian hubs have made up for some of the volumes lost during the standstill earlier this year.

Long Beach is now just 1.5% down on its previous fiscal year figures while Los Angeles is up by 0.55%, although its 2015 container throughput statistics are 5.03% below comparative 2014 figures.

Port of Los Angeles executive director, Gene Seroka, said: “March container volumes were robust as our terminals worked aggressively to clear out the backlog of vessels.”

He added that the number of ships waiting at anchor had reduced significantly while labour levels had strengthened.

This week the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will co-host stakeholders to discuss additional solutions to further optimize the San Pedro Bay supply chain.

Meanwhile, another West Coast port, the Port of Oakland showed signs of a rebound in March, with container volumes rising by 6.4% to 209,407 teu.

“We’re moving in the right direction again,” said Port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “But we’ve still got plenty of work to do to make up for a slow start to the year.”

Despite the recent improvement, volumes are still 18.1% down on 2014 in the calendar year so far.

West Coast ports received a further boost last week with the announcement that the G6 alliance’s summer schedule features calls at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland.