The Port of Long Beach experienced a slight decrease in cargo volume in 2022 compared to the record-setting year of 2021. Despite this, the port remained the leading export seaport in the United States for loaded twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for the second consecutive year.
A total of 9,133,657 TEUs were moved in 2022, representing a decrease of only 2.7% from the previous year. Imports declined by 4.9% to 4,358,789 TEUs, while exports dipped by 1.6% to 1,414,882 TEUs. The processing of empty containers through the port saw a minimal year-over-year decline of 0.14% to 3,359,986 TEUs.
The port attributed the decline in cargo volume during the second half of 2022 to a cooling of consumer spending and a shift in imported goods towards the Gulf and East coasts. However, the port emphasized that operations returned to normal by the end of the year, and cargo was moving smoothly beyond the economic effects of COVID-19.
Executive Director Mario Cordero expressed confidence in the port's operations and highlighted plans for future investments in digital and physical infrastructure projects to enhance competitiveness and ensure efficient movement of goods.
In December 2022, trade at the port experienced a significant decline of 27.9% compared to the same period in 2021, with 544,104 TEUs moved. Imports dropped by 32.6% to 241,643 TEUs, while exports increased by 1.6% to 115,782 TEUs. Empty containers also saw a decline of 33.7% to 186,680 TEUs.
The port cited economists' forecasts of a further decline in cargo volumes throughout 2023 as consumer purchases shift from goods to services.