LA, Long Beach Ports Rank Last in World for Efficiency: Report

LA, Long Beach Ports Rank Last in World for Efficiency: Report
Delays in the transfer of cargo continue in Southern California as vessels line the horizon waiting offload containers into the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., on Oct. 27, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Jill McLaughlin

LOS ANGELES—The World Bank ranked the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports last in efficiency among container ports worldwide in a report issued last month.

The “Container Port Performance Index 2021” (pdf) measured the total time a ship spent at port and waiting offshore to dock at 370 locations worldwide in 2021. Los Angeles’s port ranked 369 and Long Beach ranked last at 370.

The two most efficient container ports in the report were top-ranked King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia and the Port of Salalah in Oman, which was ranked second.

The efficiency of port infrastructure was identified as a key factor to port competitiveness and international trade costs, according to the World Bank Group report.

Poorly performing ports were characterized by limitations in spatial and operating efficiency, limitations in maritime and landside access, inadequate oversight, and poor coordination between the public agencies, resulting in a lack of predictability and reliability, according to the report.

“The pandemic highlighted in stark terms the pivotal role port performance plays in the timely supply of goods to countries and their populations,” said Turloch Mooney, associate director of maritime and trade at S&P Global Market Intelligence. “The effects of the pandemic on key global gateways and associated supply chains are very worrying and continue to cause severe supply delays and shortages of goods, leading to higher prices and negatively impacting the financial situation of many companies.”

The Port of Virginia was ranked 23rd, making it the most efficient North American port, according to the report, followed by Miami (29) and Halifax in Canada (46).

A spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles told The Epoch Times the study’s methodology did not capture the “unmatched complexity of the San Pedro Bay ports nor the impacts of differing geographies, modality, and governing laws.”

“On average, the Port of Los Angeles loads and unloads nearly 12,000 container units per vessel, among the best in the industry,” Port of LA Spokesman Phillip Sanfield said. “Furthermore, the pandemic-driven import surge has created challenges unique to San Pedro Bay. For example, in addition to congestion at inland facilities, which led to a buildup of ships at anchor, the San Pedro Bay saw a large number of new entrants and charter vessels in the market.”

Los Angeles and Long Beach ports quickly became overwhelmed last year with record numbers of cargo ships during the COVID-19 pandemic. The flood of goods created container pileups and congestion that caused supply-chain delays across the United States.

The twin ports continue to work through the surge, processing thousands of delayed containers at the docks and nearby storage lots.

The twin Southern California ports remain the busiest container ports in the nation, handling about 40 percent of the nation’s imported cargo.

The Los Angeles port, which imports mostly furniture, auto parts, apparel, plastics, and footwear, processed 970,000 units of cargo last month. Port officials are preparing for an early arrival of peak-season goods, and orders from Asia looked strong, Executive Director Gene Seroka told Bloomberg News.

“We continue to work with public and private stakeholders to address issues uncovered in 2021 and create further efficiencies,” Sanfield said. “Still, the Port of Los Angeles processed a record 10.7 million container units in 2021, significantly more than any other port in the Western Hemisphere.”

The Port of Long Beach processed 890,989 twenty-foot equivalent units in May, a 1.8 percent decline from May 2021, which remains the port’s busiest month in its 111-year history, according to the port.

The Long Beach Port has moved 4,172,366 containers during the first five months of 2022, a 3.5 percent increase from the same period in 2021.

“We are moving an extraordinary amount of cargo and continue to work with industry partners to quickly move imports and empties off the docks,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Looking ahead, we are ready for the traditional summertime surge to coincide with China’s recovery from a lengthy lockdown.”

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.
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