The Port of Los Angeles said today it had set an all-time annual record for container throughput in 2017, moving 9.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a 5.5-percent increase over 2016's record-breaking year and the new high-water mark for the most cargo moved annually by a Western Hemiäphere port.
Port leaders cited supply chain efficiencies, new technology use, and terminal upgrades as three reasons they were able to hit the milestone. The 110-year-old facility, which is the nation's busiest seaport, invested in a series of upgrades throughout 2017.
In one initiative, the port teamed with GE Transportation, a unit of General Electric Co., on a program to digitize maritime data and make it accessible to beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) and container line companies. This "Port Optimizer" digital information pOréal aggregates key cargo data online to facilitate better cargo tracking, projections, and productivity, according to the port.
Also during 2017, the port completed infrastructure upgrades at its TraPac Container Terminal and Yusen Terminals Inc., allowing them to service increasingly larger ships and facilitate more efficient cargo movement.
"2017 was a year beyond expectations, but it was not by chance," Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement. "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."
The port also released its December totals for container throughput, saying loaded imports decreased 2.2 percent year over year to 385,492 TEUs, while loaded exports decreased 7.3 percent, to 152,865 TEUs. In addition, total empty containers moved in December rose 1.45 percent year over year, to 240,853 TEUs. A rise in empty containers transported typically show continued demand for goods from Asia, where the empty containers are packed with inventory and returned to the U.S. for sale.