By CBSLA Staff

LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero began his annual State of the Port address Thursday by calling for port workers to immediately be given priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The workforce is essential to keeping our economy moving, and they have put their health on the line,” Cordero said. “As ports, we cannot avail ourselves of the benefits of cargo volume without acknowledging the men and women who have continued to report to work, day in and day out, during the COVID crisis.”

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Cordero cited that they worked through the port’s busiest months ever amid the deadly pandemic as the port remained open, despite longshore workers testing positive for the virus at high rates.

“During this unprecedented pandemic, the entire country depended on global trade as their lifeline,” Cordero said.

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The port had four record-breaking months and the most active quarter in its 109-year history. The year ended with 8,113,315 20-foot equivalent units moved.

In mid-January, the test positivity rate at the Port of Long Beach was 71%, according to U.S. Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragan, D-Los Angeles, and Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)