Officials of the second-busiest U.S. container seaport have attached importance to China, its largest trade partner, as imports approached record levels in the port.
"The trade with China is very important, not only for the United States, but also for the Port of Long Beach. China is 80 percent of our container import movement. So, obviously, that's the central focus," Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, told Xinhua on Tuesday.
A major gateway for U.S.-Asia trade, the Port of Long Beach in the state of California contributes to around 30,000 jobs in the city and has regional impact on 316,000 jobs in Southern California.
"What we believe is a great partnership," he said. "The relationship that we have with China both in terms as a country, as a part of our most important trade realm in the nation which is a transpacific trade realm, is going to continue."
Strong consumer demand for goods continued to push cargo higher at the Port of Long Beach, as imports surged more than 10 percent in August compared to the same month last year. The figure was the third-highest monthly import total in the Port's 106-year history, according to port officials.
And Long Beach terminals processed 692,375 twenty-foot equivalent units in all -- 8 percent more than last August's shipments -- making it the second-busiest August ever and the third-highest container volume for any month. Cargo is up 6.6 percent for the first eight months of the year over 2016.
"When you looked at the map, we are the closest proximity to China, our largest trade partner, both for Long Beach and the United States," the executive director said, adding that mutual benefits are the base of the relationship between the port and its Chinese partners.
"By 2050, China would probably be the largest middle class in the world. China is going to have a lot of demands. Not only the Unite States, but also most specifically the state of California, has a lot to offer in terms of not only the standard containerised movement what we have today, but addition to greater agriculture products. Long Beach is in very good position to maximize that," said Cordero.
Officials said they have already invested billions of U.S. dollars to modernize the facilities in the port, aiming to offer the best services to customers, including China COSCO and other Chinese partners.
Noel Hacegaba, chief commercial officer and managing director of operations of the Port of Long Beach, told Xinhua that the development of Chinese economy has played a very significant role in the development in gross for the port of the Long Beach.
"When you looked at our statistics, when you looked at where the import are coming from, China is right at the top," said Hacegaba.
"Over 80 percent of our business comes form Asia, and vast majority comes from China. So there is no question that the development of Chinese economy has very positive impact on the port of Long Beach," he added.