LOS ANGELES — The Port of Los Angeles handled nearly 877,000 TEUs of containers last month, eclipsing 2021 as the busiest June in the port’s history, as retailers continued to replenish store and warehouse inventories, Executive Director Gene Seroka said last week.
Despite 9.1% consumer inflation and growing concerns about a potential recession, “for the month of June, Americans are still spending on goods,” Seroka said during his monthly briefing. The June cargo numbers are 15% higher than the port’s previous five-year June average, Seroka said.
“Though the latest Commerce Department data indicated an easing of consumer purchases in the month of May, we’ll continue to monitor this and other key data, such as the results of the Amazon Prime days, GDP numbers and the June retail sales, all to see if this is a true trend,” he said.
With imports and exports down slightly from June 2021, the port’s cargo growth was due to a surge in empty containers. Empties increased 8% YoY to 338,041 TEUs, he said. “We’ll continue to see these heightened levels of empties repositioned as imports remain strong from Asia,” Seroka said.
The nation’s busiest seaport saw imports slide 5% from last June to 444,680 TEUs, but they remained 12% higher than the port’s five-year June average, the port director said.
The port handled 93,890 TEUs of exports in June, a 2% drop YoY. Exports have dropped 39 out of the last 44 months.
A topic of frustration for the port since the spring, rail congestion has exacerbated the port’s problem of long-dwelling containers.