PortandTerminal.com, December 15, 2020
“2020 has been anything but normal” – Gene Seroka, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director
SAN PEDRO – “Since August, monthly cargo volume has averaged almost 930,000 TEUs,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “It’s unusual to see this kind of import activity this late in the year. But 2020 has been anything but normal.”
That’s an understatement.
When the pandemic first struck at the beginning of 2020 cargo plummeted – the first 5 months of this year were nearly 19% lower compared to last year.
Since then, imports from Asia have been coming at a record pace while U.S. exports have decreased 23 of the last 25 months at the Port.
A combination of increased consumer spending, holiday shipments and replenishment of warehouse inventories has resulted in an unprecedented surge of cargo in recent months at the Port of Los Angeles.
November loaded imports reached 464,820 TEUs compared to November 2019. Loaded exports decreased 5.5% to 130,917 TEUs. Empty containers, heavily in demand in Asia, increased 34.2% compared to November 2019, reaching 294,010 TEUs.
Eighty-eight cargo vessels arrived in November, including nine extra loaders. There were no canceled sailings.
All totalled, year to date, overall cargo volume is 3% lower compared to 2019.
What is the outlook? Gene Seroka is bullish about the next few months.
“With consumers continuing to stay at home and purchase goods rather than services, we expect robust activity on our docks to continue for at least several months,” Seroka commented.
The port has recently introduced a number of initiatives to help efficiently manage the higher level of cargo activity.
As a service to stakeholders, the Port of Los Angeles recently created several digital platforms. The Signal, launched in September, provides a three-week look at cargo coming into Los Angeles. The information, powered by the Port Optimizer™, is updated daily at signal.portoptimizer.com.
The Return Signal, introduced in November, assists the trucking community to know when and where to return empty containers to cargo terminals throughout the San Pedro Bay complex. The Return Signal data is updated every five minutes and information can be filtered and easily customized. Data can be accessed at portoptimizer.com.
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