Port Launches ‘Return Signal,’ Another New Data Tool to Assist Truckers Returning Empty Containers

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – November 18, 2020 – The Port of Los Angeles processed 980,729 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in October, an increase of 27.3% compared to October 2019. Propelled by replenishment of inventories and retailers preparing for upcoming holidays, October marked the busiest month in the Port’s 114-year history.
Year to date, overall cargo volumes lag by 5.3% compared to 2019.
“Overall volume has been strong yet the trade imbalance remains a concern,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “For every three and a half containers that are imported into Los Angeles from abroad, only one container leaves filled with U.S. exports. One-way trade will not put Americans back to work and it adds logistical challenges to the supply chain.”
Seroka noted at the start of the COVID-19 crisis that significant supply chain swings like the current one would occur and said there could be more ahead.
“With COVID-19 cases on the rise nationwide, the U.S. economic outlook remains uncertain,” Seroka said. “Volume swings like the one we are seeing are an outgrowth of this uncertainty. We are using Port Optimizer™ data and the expertise of our supply chain partners to prepare for a range of scenarios to respond to market demands in the months ahead.”
Seroka also announced the launch of “The Return Signal,” a new data tool that will assist the trucking community to know when and where to return empty containers to cargo terminals throughout the San Pedro Bay complex.
Building on the data and success of the Port Optimizer™ and The Signal, the “Return Signal” data is updated every five minutes. Information can be filtered and easily customized. The data tool is a free service of the Port of Los Angeles.
The Signal data tool, launched in September, provides a three-week look at cargo coming into Los Angeles. The information, powered by the Port Optimizer™, is updated daily.
October loaded imports reached 506,613 TEUs compared to October 2019. Loaded exports edged up 2.6% to 143,936 TEUs. Empty containers increased 39.3% compared to October 2019, reaching a record of 330,180 TEUs. The October total of 980,729 TEUs eclipsed the previous record of 961,833 set in August of this year.
Ninety-seven cargo vessels arrived in October, including 16 extra loaders and two canceled sailings. The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Isabella discharged and loaded 32,953 TEUs during its October visit to APM Terminals. Other than the Isabella’s maiden call here in June, it’s the second-highest number of TEUs handled in a single ship visit at the Port of Los Angeles.
Current and historical cargo data, including fiscal year-end totals, are available here.