A slow month for cargo at Long Beach port
The nation's second-busiest container port saw a sharp decline in cargo numbers in October, but there is a caveat. The Port of Long Beach is operating with just six terminal operators instead of the seven it had in 2010.
The Port of Long Beach is second only to the neighboring harbor of Los Angeles in the amount of cargo containers it moves annually. In October, the amount of imports, mostly from Asia, declined 20.8% to 240,248 containers from a year earlier. Exports through the port, mostly bound for Asia as well, were down 21.4% to 118,325 containerts, compared with October of 2010.
Overall, including empty containers that were being shipped back to Asia, Long Beach moved 487,665 containers, a drop of 20.5%.
One big factor was the absence of the Hyundai cargo terminal, which moved to the Port of Los Angeles. Hyundai had about 10% of the port's business and wasn't willing to wait as Long Beach embarks on a nine-year, $1-billion redevelopment project that will combine two aging shipping terminals into one modern facility that is expected to improve cargo-movement and reduce diesel emissions.
The port did get some good news this week. Its search for a successor for the retiring executive director, Richard D. Steinke, is over. Deputy Executive Director J. Christopher Lytle was selected as his replacement by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. Lytle will take over by the end of the year.
Lytle joined the port in 2006 as managing director of trade relations and port operations. He's a former vice president with the French shipping line CMA-CGM. He also held executive positions at P&O Ports North America, Sea-Land Service Inc. and APM (Maersk) Terminals of Denmark.
-- Ronald D. White
Photo: A crane operator at Long Beach Container Terminal lifts a cargo container from a truck for loading onto an Orient Overseas Container Line ship. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times