TC Trade Monitor: Port of Los Angeles Falls Further Behind Port of New York and New Jersey

The Port of Los Angeles, once the United States’ busiest seaport saw cargo volume declines in November. The port’s volume is 21% lower than the same month last year. Overall, the LA port has handled 7% less cargo in the first 11 months of 2022 compared to last year’s all-time record. Port of New York and New Jersey is the top among all U.S. ports for a fourth-consecutive month based on November data.

Port of Los Angeles

West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach experienced the largest drop in trade, according to Josh Brazil, vice president of supply chain insights at Project44, as shippers also rerouted some of their shipments to the East Coast to avoid the risk of a major union strike at West Coast ports. U.S. West Coast ports take biggest hit as spot rate for a container from Asia to the U.S. West Coast has crossed the breakeven point

Port of Los Angeles Highlights

  • November 2022 loaded imports reached 307,080 TEUs, down 24% compared to the previous year.
  • Loaded exports came in at 90,116 TEUs, an increase of 9% compared to last November.
  • Empty containers landed at 242,148 TEUs, a 26% year-over-year decline.

“Imports into the United States have begun to level off, in addition to cargo that has shifted away from West Coast ports due to protracted labor negotiations,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka during Thursday’s media briefing. “In the months ahead, we’re going to have to work harder and smarter to earn cargo back. Every ship, every train, every truck needs to be handled with the top-level service our customers expect and deserve,” Seroka added.

U.S. ports in November saw the greatest October-to-November imports decline since 2016 at 12% – Descartes Datamyne, Nov 1.95 million imported containers was 19.4% below the year-ago level and the lowest monthly volume since June 2020.

Seasonally U.S. imports rise this time of a year as importers and manufacturers try to avoid dealys from the typical two-week factory shutdowns during the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins in late January. Clearly that hasn’t happened in 2022.

Jeremy Nixon, chief executive of Singapore-based container shipping line Ocean Network Express, said he expects factories in China and Vietnam will likely close for four or five weeks around the holiday period because of the decline in demand from overseas buyers. He doesn’t see a pickup until the second half of the year.

Mr. Nixon said, “When that comes, probably toward the second half of 2023 it’s going to be back to business as usual”.

Vessel TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) volume from China to the U.S. has significantly pulled back since the end of summer 2022, including a decline of 21% in total vessel container volume between August and November – Supply chain research firm Project44 

Source: Reuters, TC

From The TradersCommunity News Desk