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Port of Long Beach Shipments Down 17.3 percent in April

FILE PHOTO: Port of Long Beach

PortandTerminal.com, May 12, 2020

The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact trade at the Port of Long Beach in April with fewer cargo containers moving through the nation’s second-busiest seaport.

LONG BEACH, CA – Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 519,730 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last month, down 17.3% from April 2019, which remains the Port’s busiest April on record. Imports slid 20.2% to 253,540 TEUs, while exports declined 17.2% to 102,502 TEUs. Empty containers headed overseas decreased 12.2% to 163,688 TEUs.

The Port moved 2,202,650 TEUs during the first four months of 2020, 9.5% down from the same period in 2019.

“We look forward to a recovery stage and rebounding cargo shipments as the nation contemplates relaxing shelter-in-place orders, people return to work and consumer demand rises –  however it will not be in the short term,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “In the meantime, we continue to collaborate with importers, exporters, terminal operators and labor to develop a recovery plan while ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of goods moving through the Port of Long Beach.”

“Continuing to engage with our partners, stakeholders and the community is of the utmost importance at this time. We are striving to live up to our duty to keep goods moving through the supply chain during this crisis,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal.

Decreased consumer demand during stay-at-home health orders prompted by COVID-19 drove down imports coming into the Port of Long Beach. Exports were hampered by a shift of carrier services.

Manufacturing in China is rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic; however, demand in the United States is below normal due to the ongoing crisis.

While the Port of Long Beach had only one canceled sailing in April, there are more to come. The San Pedro Bay port complex is expected to have 48 canceled vessel voyages April 1 through June 30 – 16 of which are scheduled for the Port of Long Beach. The two ports reported 10 blank sailings during the same period in 2019.

The figures come on the heels of 61 canceled sailings for the San Pedro Bay ports during the first quarter of 2020 caused by a manufacturing slowdown during the height of the COVID-19 crisis in China, nearly double from 31 blank sailings a year earlier.

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