Coronavirus Weighs on LA Cargo Volumes
February container volumes through America's largest cargo port were down significantly as the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on global shipping.
The Port of Los Angeles reports it moved 544,037 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), a decrease of 22.9% compared to last year, and said it expects declines to continue in March.
“While cargo volumes are important, the coronavirus is first and foremost a public health crisis that needs to be brought under control with the collaboration of governments and medical experts from around the world,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We are more interconnected than ever with our global partners so it’s no surprise that Trans-Pacific maritime trade has been significantly impacted.”
“As factory production in China remains at low levels, we expect soft volumes in March. Looking ahead to anticipated manufacturing improvements, we will need to return empty containers to Asia and push lingering U.S. export boxes out swiftly,” Seroka added. “We’re actively working with our supply chain partners to be prepared for a cargo surge once production levels ramp up.”
February imports decreased 22.5% to 270,025 TEUs compared to the previous year. Exports decreased 5.7% to 134,468 TEUs. Empty containers declined 35% to 139,544 TEUs. In total, February volumes, also adversely impacted by the Lunar New Year holiday celebrated in Asia, totaled 544,037 TEUs. For the first two months of 2020, total container volumes are 1,350,181 TEUs, down 13% com-pared to last year