Year-end Import Push Continues to Meet Consumer Demand,
Replenish Inventories

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – December 15, 2020 – The Port of Los Angeles processed 889,746 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in November, an increase of 22% compared to November 2019. A combination of increased consumer spending, holiday shipments and replenishment of warehouse inventories has resulted in an unprecedented surge of cargo in recent months.
“Since August, monthly cargo volume has averaged almost 930,000 TEUs,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “It’s unusual to see this kind of import activity this late in the year. But 2020 has been anything but normal.
“With consumers continuing to stay at home and purchase goods rather than services, we expect robust activity on our docks to continue for at least several months,” Seroka added. “To help stakeholders manage the cargo influx, the Port has introduced new data tools for asset planning, provided additional land for chassis and containers, and is working with cargo owners large and small to prioritize their shipments.”
Year to date, overall cargo volume is 3% lower compared to 2019. The first five months of 2020 cargo had plummeted nearly 19% compared to last year. Since then, imports from Asia have been coming at a record pace while U.S. exports have decreased 23 of the last 25 months at the Port.
As a service to stakeholders, the Port of Los Angeles recently created several digital platforms. The Signal, launched in September, provides a three-week look at cargo coming into Los Angeles. The information, powered by the Port Optimizer™, is updated daily at
The Return Signal, introduced in November, assists the trucking community to know when and where to return empty containers to cargo terminals throughout the San Pedro Bay complex. The Return Signal data is updated every five minutes and information can be filtered and easily customized. Data can be accessed at
November loaded imports reached 464,820 TEUs compared to compared to 371,350 TEUs in November 2019. Loaded exports decreased 5.5% to 130,917 TEUs. Empty containers, heavily in demand in Asia, increased 34.2% compared to November 2019, reaching 294,010 TEUs.
Eighty eight cargo vessels arrived in November, including nine extra loaders. There were no canceled sailings.
Current and historical cargo data, including fiscal year-end totals, are available here.