The Port of Long Beach handled a crush of import cargo in May that nearly matched the volume of inbound trade handled during last year's busiest shipping month, officials said. Port trade analyst Matt Plezia said the May cargo figures from the nation's second-busiest port underscore the continued attraction the humming U.S. consumer market exerts on Asian manufacturers. It's also a possible sign that U.S. importers have started to ship Asian retail goods targeted for the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons earlier this year to avoid cargo delays that plagued last year's peak shipping months, he said. In May, the port took in just more than 218,000 import containers, logging a 6% increase over the previous May. May's results also just missed last year's peak import mark set in September, when the facility handled 219,000 inbound containers. Exports during May rose by nearly 12%.