Despite the demonstrations by drayage truckers held off and on last year at the Port of Los Angeles – among others – to protest pay and working conditions, the port still ended up moving more cargo containers than at any time during its 110-year history: 9.34 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a 5.5% increase over 2016’s record-breaking year and the most cargo moved in one year by a Western Hemisphere port.
Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement that “2017 was a year beyond expectations but it was not by chance. Our growth is a direct result of a concerted, multi-year effort by the Port and its many partners to maximize efficiency throughout the supply chain. All the collaborative work by a broad range of global maritime stakeholders has delivered these remarkable results.”
He credited “supply chain efficiencies” implemented by the port for its ability handle record-setting TEU volumes in 2017 – including technology upgrades such as the new “Port Optimizer” digital information portal developed by the Port in collaboration with GE Transportation.
The optimizer aggregates key cargo data online to facilitate better cargo tracking, projections, and productivity, Seroka said.
“The cargo volume for 2017 reflects the importance of the Port of Los Angeles, not just to the regional economy but the nation,” noted John McLaurin, president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA), in a statement.
That being said, the Port of Los Angeles did see a slight falloff in volumes at the end of last year as December imports decreased 2.2% to 385,492 TEUs while exports decreased 7.3% to 152,865 TEUs. Along with a 1.5% rise in empty containers, overall December containers were 779,210 TEUs, an overall decrease of 2.2% compared to the previous year.