The Port of Los Angeles announced Tuesday it became the first port in the Western Hemisphere to handle more than a million twenty-foot equivalent units in one month.

The month of May, when the port processed 1,012,248 TEUs, was the busiest month in the port’s 114-year history, and the port processed 74% more cargo units than the same month the previous year.

“The historic level of cargo that we’re managing reflects our commitment to reach new heights by working with our partners to further enhance our productivity, throughput and velocity,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “Much credit goes to our longshore workforce, truckers, terminal operators, ocean carriers, railroads and other stakeholders for scaling up to meet this extraordinary demand.”

The port’s imports reached 535,714 TEUs, an increase of 75% from the previous year, and exports increased by 5.3% to 109,886 TEUs. The port also processed 366,448 empty containers, a 114% jump from the previous year due to increased demand in Asia. It was the most empty containers the port has ever processed in a single month.

Last Thursday, the port — which has experienced record volume amid an online buying surge during the COVID-19 pandemic — also became the first Western Hemisphere port to process 10 million container units in a one-year period.

“The port is the beating heart of our economy, the backbone of our region’s prosperity, and the crossroads that makes Los Angeles a true gateway to the rest of the world,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a celebration of that milestone. “Reaching this remarkable milestone is a reflection of its role as a critical engine of the global supply chain — and a testament to our unmatched port infrastructure and highly-skilled workforce.”

Overall cargo volume for 2021 is 4,551,445 TEUs, 48.2% more than the same period in 2020, officials said.

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