More cargo, More cargo lost

Published on February 5th, 2021

The Port of Long Beach has reported its busiest January on record as the cargo boom continues into 2021. Dockworkers and terminal operators at the port moved 764,006 twenty-foot equivalent units in January for a 21.9% jump from the same month last year.

In this report, the port said that while activity typically slows down in February during overseas celebrations for the Lunar New Year, projections show that this month could be busier than usual as unscheduled container ship calls continue to make up for voyages that were canceled at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

With fewer commercial airline flights available to support transport needs, the burden to move cargo is on the shipping industry, but this also coincides with an increased number of containers get lost at sea. While the World Shipping Council notes the losses to be tiny fraction, about .0006%, of the roughly 226 million containers shipped on the world’s oceans, the recent trend is troubling.

WSC reported on average only 1,382 containers were lost at sea per year between 2018 and 2019, but between November 30 and January 31, more than 2,675 containers were lost in five incidents at sea. That’s almost double the annual average in just a two-month period.

To learn about the recent incidents, click here.

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