September was another record month for the port of Los Angeles with 903,865 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) being processed. The cargo processed through the Port of Los Angeles made it the busiest September in the port’s 114-year history, increasing more than two percent over last September’s previous record. Overall cargo volume for the year so far has grown 26 percent over 2020, with more than 8.1 million TEUs being processed.
“Despite the global supply chain challenges, the Port of Los Angeles and its partners continue to deliver record amounts of cargo,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a press release. “This is made possible by the extraordinary effort of our longshore workers, truck drivers, terminal operators and so many others on the waterfront and in our region’s warehouses. I’m grateful to all of them.”
The difference between imports and exports was in line with the ongoing issues for ag producers struggling to get their products out to export markets. Loaded imports reached more than 468,059 TEUs in September, while the number of loaded exports dropped by 42 percent compared to September of 2020. At 75,714 TEUs, it was the lowest number of exports since 2002.
One of the underlying issues for ag producers has been the number of empty containers leaving out of port to destinations in Asia. Empty containers processed at the Port of Los Angeles grew to 360,092, an increase of 28 percent compared to last year’s figures. For ag producers, the shortage of available containers has been compounded by other delays and setbacks in transportation routes. Efforts are ongoing to attempt to remedy the bottlenecks within the supply chain.
“Of particular note is the great work by BNSF and Union Pacific, which have reduced the rail backlog in half in the last month and by two-thirds over the last two months,” said Seroka. “We’ve got more work to do but we’ve made significant progress due to the collaborative efforts with our Class 1 railroads.”